Sam Reinhart tallied his third career hattrick, while Jason Pominville and Rasmus Dahlin each found the back of the net as the Buffalo Sabres picked up a much needed 5-2 win over the Washington Captials to snap a four game losing streak on Saturday.
“I mean, you don’t want to have to rally around a loss but the position we’re in and still are in, it took that effort against a really good team in Tampa and really important for us to follow it up with another one of the best teams in the league,” Reinhart said after the game. “We’re going to enjoy it and get ready for Toronto.”
The Sabres can breathe a sigh of relief after not only picking up two important points in the wild card race, but after the injury to star winger Jeff Skinner wasn’t as serious as it initially looked.
Leading 2-1 in the second period and skating through the slot, Skinner was tripped up by Carl Hagelin and immediately fell to the ice clutching his knee. He would have to be helped off the ice and to the locker room, but returned for the start of the third period and looked no worse for the wear with a dangerous scoring chance seconds in to the final period of play.
#Sabres get two huge points in their win over #ALLCAPS
Hutton: “I thought it was timely saves and just battling. Sam did the rest here tonight. He was huge for us and obviously Dahls with a big goal. I think it was a big character win here.” @news4buffalo pic.twitter.com/wc84HXSNeN— Nick Filipowski (@NEWS4_NICK) February 23, 2019
“A good training staff I guess,” Skinner said of the injury. “It was a little bit of a weird feeling at first and then tested it out and it settled down a bit. It was good to get back out there.”
The Sabres continued the strong play they showed in their shootout loss to Tampa and had a stellar opening frame against the Captails.
Less than four minutes in Jason Pominville found the back of the net to collect his 14th goal of the season as he finished off a beautiful passing game sequence for Jack Eichel and Skinner.
Reinhart picked up his 15th goal of the season, rifling a shot over the shoulder of Braden Holtby to give Buffalo a 2-0 lead 10 minutes later.
Alexander Ovechkin would pull the defending Cup champs to within 2-1 with a breakaway goal in the second before Rasmus Dahlin blasted home a power play goal near the end of the frame to push the lead back out to two.
“I thought it was timely saves and just battling,” Carter Hutton said. “Sam did the rest here tonight. He was huge for us and obviously Dahlin with a big goal. I think it was a big character win here.”
“We worked hard, we played pretty desperate,” added Jack Eichel “Two good teams, I thought we had two good performances. So, there is Something to be happy about we just got to build off of it.
Reinhart would add his second of the game, re-directing a shot from Matt Hunwick to make it a 4-2 game. He would also add the empty netter.