Sabres fall in a shootout to Alex Ovechkin-less Capitals

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Washington Capitals goaltender Vitek Vanecek (41) stops a shot by Buffalo Sabres left wing Taylor Hall (4) during the shootout of an NHL hockey game, Friday, Jan. 22, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WIVB) – Leading up to the season opener, the Sabres talked about how important it was to get out to a fast start given the shortened season due to the pandemic.

But they’ve done anything but that as they’re now 1-3-1 after a 4-3 shootout loss to the Capitals Friday night.

And to make things worse, the Caps were without four of their top players that included Alex Ovechkin, their number one center Evgeny Kuznetsov, their starting goaltender Ilya Samsonov and defenseman Dmitry Orlov. They were placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 list after breaking league protocols.

Three newcomers scored for the Sabres as Eric Staal got Buffalo on the board first in the first period. Then rookie Dylan Cozens scored the first goal of his NHL career in the second period to tie the game at 2. And finally Riley Sheahan made it a 3-3 game later in the second period.

It was a scoreless third that sent the game into overtime where goaltender Linus Ullmark made a couple key saves during the Capitals power play they started the extra period with.

Ullmark started in goal and returned to the lineup after missing both games in Philadelphia earlier in the week when he found out his father passed away on Monday.

It went to a shootout and Caps defenseman John Carlson finally scored in the fourth round to give Washington the win. Sam Reinhart could not keep the shootout going as he was stopped right after Carlson’s goal.

Up next, the Sabres face the Capitals again on Sunday afternoon at 2:30 p.m.

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