Nicklas Backstrom Leads Capitals to 5-2 Win Over Sabres

Nicklas Backstrom Leads Capitals to 5-2 Win Over Sabres WASHINGTON — Nicklas Backstrom had two goals, Alex
added a goal and two assists and the Washington Capitals beat the
Buffalo Sabres 5-2 on Wednesday night in a battle of division leaders.

Mike Green had a goal and an assist, and Brendan Morrison
also scored for the Southeast-leading Capitals, who have won nine of 12 games.
Washington improved to 11-2-3 at Verizon Center.

Paul Gaustad and Tim Connolly scored for the
Northeast-leading Sabres.

Washington pressured Sabres goalie Ryan Miller with a
15-4 edge in shots in the opening period, taking a 2-0 lead on goals by
Backstrom and Green. The Capitals have scored an NHL-high 47 first-period goals.

Backstrom one-timed a shovel pass from Ovechkin in the
left circle 1:18 into the game, and Green's drive from the right point knuckled
off the stick of Buffalo's Derek Roy and fluttered by Miller at 6:47.

With the teams skating four-a-side early in the second
period, Gaustad kept the puck on a 2-on-1 rush and wristed a shot past Michal
from the right circle for his seventh goal.

Morrison briefly restored the two-goal cushion at 10:48
of the second on some nifty improvisational play. After overskating a second
chance at Tomas Fleischmann's rebound, Morrison scored on a between-the-legs
backhanded flip at the right post.

Just over 2 minutes later, Connolly tipped in Steve
's right-point slapper.

Backstrom made it 4-2 on a two-man advantage with 9:05
remaining in the game after Fleischmann had drawn two minor penalties. Alexander
threaded a nice pass through traffic in front of the net and Backstrom cut
a tough angle at the right post.

Ovechkin followed with his team-high 24th goal on a
power play with 7:50 left on a slap shot from the left circle.

Buffalo LW Thomas Vanek missed his third straight
game because of an abdominal injury, while C Nathan Gerbe sat out his seventh
consecutive game with a groin problem. … Washington was playing only its
second home game in 20 days. … Morrison has 10 goals and the Capitals have six
players with double-digit goal totals.

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