Offense stumbles, Capitals fall to Sabres in shootout

Offense stumbles, Capitals fall to Sabres in shootout
January 12, 2014, 6:00 pm
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Highlights: Sabres 2, Capitals 1 (SO)

Instant analysis of the Capitals’ 2-1 shootout loss win to the Buffalo Sabres Sunday afternoon at VerizonCenter:

How it happened: Capitals center Cody Hodgson scored the only goal of the shootout, beating Caps rookie goalie Philipp Grubauer past his catching glove in the third round of the shootout. Ryan Miller was perfect on shootout attempts by Eric Fehr, Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. The loss snapped a two-game winning streak for the Caps. The win was Buffalo’s first on the road since Nov. 5, snapping an 0-9-2 funk.

How they scored: The Caps got on the board first at the 11:01 mark of the first period when Jason Chimera carried the puck down the left wing and flipped a centering pass intended for Marcus Johansson. The puck ticked off the stick of Sabres center Brian Flynn and behind Ryan Miller for a 1-0 lead. The Sabres tied it on the power play with 1:51 remaining in the opening period when Tyler Ennis collided with Joel Ward in the Buffalo end, then beat Ward up the ice to put in Cody Hodgson’s rebound.

Save of the game: With 2:11 remaining in regulation Mikhail Grabovski had a gaping net, but as his shot was heading into the cage Ryan Miller made a diving stop with his paddle. Two minutes earlier Miller snatched a Jason Chimera shot with his glove, keeping the score knotted at 1-1.

[RELATED VIDEO: Jason Chimera's goal give Capitals 1-0 lead]

Getting a chance: Rookie defenseman Connor Carrick saw some time on the penalty kill alongside veteran defense partner John Erskine, who played another hard, physical game. Center Mikhail Grabovski also saw some PK time alongside Brooks Laich, mostly because Troy Brouwer took back-to-back penalties [roughing, high-sticking) in the second period.

Comical puck drop:  Before the game 8-year-old Wish Foundation recipient Braden Nienaber walked the red carpet for a ceremonial puck drops to captains Alex Ovechkin and Steve Ott. But before dropping the puck he kicked Ott out of the faceoff circle, drawing a smile from Caps coach Adam Oates and laughs from the crowd. Braden still received hair tussles from Ott and Ovechkin after the puck drop.

Mascot night: The second intermission featured a collection of mascots on the ice, including Winger, the Caps’ original mascot.

Look ahead: The Caps close out their three-game homestand Tuesday night against the San Jose Sharks, who are second in the Pacific Division with a 28-12-6 record.