Backstrom, Bourque help Capitals jolt Sabres

Publish date:

BUFFALO, New York (Ticker) -- Nicklas Backstrom recorded a goal

and an assist as the Washington Capitals posted a 4-2 triumph

over the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday.

Rookie Chris Bourque, who is the son of Hockey Hall of Famer Ray

Bourque, netted his first career NHL goal for Washington, which

secured its fourth consecutive victory and improved to 9-1-0 in

its last 10 games.

Brooks Laich and Boyd Gordon also tallied, Viktor Kozlov notched

two assists and Jose Theodore finished with 31 saves for the


"We got the early goal and it was important," Backstrom said.

"We played together and we worked together. We're playing solid

every game. Hopefully we can continue that in the new year."

"We have everybody playing with confidence," Theodore said. "It

was time to put everything aside and play the way we can."

Adam Mair and Clarke MacArthur scored and Ryan Miller turned

aside 27 shots for Buffalo, which fell to 6-4-2 in its last 12


"It's embarrassing," Buffalo's Thomas Vanek said. "You want to

be strong at home, we talk about it all the time and it hasn't

happened yet. It's past Christmas. Key guys need to be better

and I'm one of them."

"It wasn't a very strong effort, from every position starting

with myself," Miller said. "Three rebound goals ... I'm not

thrilled with getting in the way of the first one. I need a

little better awareness on my part."

Laich opened the scoring 1:57 into the first period after

cleaning up a rebound before beating Miller for his 11th goal of

the season.

Drafted in the second round - 33rd overall - in the 2004 draft,

Bourque doubled the advantage just over seven minutes later

after collecting the puck in the slot and wristing it past


"It's awesome that I got that first one. It was surreal,"

Bourque said. "I couldn't believe it was right there. It was a

perfect shot by 'Stecks' (Dave Steckel) and I crashed the net

hard. I got lucky with the rebound right on my stick. I wasn't

going to miss that one."

"I was really happy with Chris getting his first NHL goal,"

Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said. "The goal in the second

period was the one that really gives you some breathing room.

The way we reacted after they scored was very nice."

With his team on the power play, Backstrom gave the Capitals a

three-goal bulge with 7:49 remaining in the second period with

his 11th goal of the season.

"Rebounds were the key," Boudreau said. "We scored three

rebound goals - and an empty-netter. The shots are going to set

the plays up, it doesn't work the other way around."

Theodore's bid for his second shutout of the season and 28th

career came to an end with just over 12 minutes remaining in the

third period as Mair netted his fifth goal of the season.

Gordon added an empty-net tally with 43 seconds remaining in the

third before MacArthur netted his 11th tally with 11 seconds

left to cap the scoring.



Slavin Wins First-Career Lady Byng

Slavin becomes just the fourth defenceman in NHL history to win the Lady Byng Trophy.


Three UFA Goaltenders Coming Off Strong Seasons

Goaltending - like the knuckleball - is a capricious beast. If an NHL GM makes the right call on a UFA twine-minder, he could have it pay off substantially; if he makes the wrong call, his team could be toast. Here are three 2021 UFAs who had good seasons and may be the answer for NHL GMs in the 2021 off-season


Tensions Rise Quickly in Semifinals Between Unfamiliar Foes

The regular season divisional format created tense rivalries, but the final four has proven that there's no love lost for the teams meeting for the first time all year.