Capitals tie it late, come back to beat Sabres in shootout
WASHINGTON (AP) — Tom Wilson tied it with 68 seconds left in regulation, Evgeny Kuznetsov and T.J. Oshie scored in the shootout and the Washington Capitals kept their faint playoff hopes alive by coming back to beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-4 Wednesday night.
Wilson's goal was the first tying or go-ahead goal in the final two minutes this season by the Capitals, who moved two points back of the second and final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. Thanks to two victories in three games, Washington is surprisingly still in the race with 12 games to play despite selling at the trade deadline and dealing with a growing list of injuries.
That continued with defenseman Nick Jensen leaving in the third period and not returning. That absence came after a scare late in the second when trade pickup Rasmus Sandin took a slap shot off his left knee and departed the game, before returning in the third.
Still, the Capitals got production from their best players to rally against Buffalo. After Oshie and Kuznetsov scored their first two goals of the game, Alex Ovechkin cut the deficit to one and Wilson tied it on a 6-on-4 goal with goaltender Charlie Lindgren pulled for an extra skater.
Lindgren stopped Alex Tuch and Tage Thompson in the shootout after making 23 saves in regulation and overtime.
The Sabres' playoff hopes are still very much alive after picking up a point, and they have extra games left to play compared to the teams they're chasing. But the OT loss represented a missed opportunity after goals in regulation by Ilya Lyubushkin, JJ Peterka, Tyson Jost and Zemgus Girgensons and 35 saves in net by Ukko-Pekka Lukkonen, who lost his stick in the corner before Wilson tied it.
Buffalo has lost seven of nine to hurt the chances of ending the franchise's 11-season postseason drought, which is by far the longest in the NHL.
Sabres: Visit Philadelphia on Friday night.
Capitals: Host St. Louis on Friday night.
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Stephen Whyno, The Associated Press