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Apr 11, 2024 9:46 pm

Sabres dent Capitals’ wild-card hopes

Sabres, Capitals

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 22 saves and the Buffalo Sabres beat the visiting Washington Capitals 4-2 on Thursday night.

Washington began the night with a one-point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings for the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, but those teams were playing each other.

Alex Tuch scored his 22nd goal of the season for the Sabres (38-37-5, 81 points), who had lost two straight and have been eliminated from playoff contention. Jordan Greenway and Henri Jokiharju each had two assists.

Connor McMichael and Tom Wilson scored their 18th goals of the season for the Capitals (37-31-11, 85 points). John Carlson had two assists and Charlie Lindgren made 13 saves.

The Capitals have lost seven of eight (1-5-2) and scored a total of 14 goals in those contests.

Buffalo won two of three games this season against Washington, with both wins coming in April.

Zach Benson gave the Sabres a 1-0 lead at 19:00 of the first period when he deflected Jeff Skinner’s shot from the point past Lindgren.

Tuch made it 2-0 at 12:37 of the second period. Tage Thompson entered the Washington zone on the rush and passed to Jokiharju, who centered to Tuch for a wrist shot from the high slot.

McMichael pulled the Capitals within 2-1 at 14:36. Max Pacioretty entered the zone and skated along the right boards. He centered the puck and McMichael, going to the net, redirected the puck past Luukkonen.

Jack Quinn increased the Sabres lead to 3-1 at 9:46 of the third period. Connor Clifton entered the Washington zone three-on-two and dropped the puck back to Quinn, who dragged the puck into the slot before scoring on a wrist shot.

Dylan Cozens scored into an empty net at 17:43 to make it 4-1. Wilson deflected Carlson’s shot by Luukkonen with one minute remaining for the 4-2 final.

–Field Level Media

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