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Sabres edge weary Capitals

Associated Press
Published November 28, 2005


WASHINGTON - The Buffalo Sabres had a simple game plan against the tired Capitals: Keep the pressure on.

It worked.

Jason Pominville netted his first NHL goal, and Thomas Vanek and Jochen Hecht also scored to help the Sabres stretch their unbeaten streak to 5-0-0-1 with a 3-2 victory Sunday.

Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff knew Washington didn't get much sleep after it played in New York in an 8 p.m. game that wasn't decided until the Rangers won in the 15th round of a shootout.

He wanted the Sabres to turn up the intensity, and they often pushed the Capitals back on their heels by controlling play.

"That's a tough trip for them. That's a tough turnaround," Ruff said. "We talked about really trying to press, having both (defensemen) pinching, sending in two guys off all draws and creating as much pressure as we could."

The Sabres got nine of the game's first 10 shots and held a 29-19 edge overall as the Capitals looked worn down at times. Buffalo had numerous scoring chances but missed or saw Washington goalie Olie Kolzig turn them away. Kolzig made 26 saves.

"When you play a National Hockey League game 17 hours after the last game, I just don't think that's right," Capitals coach Glen Hanlon said. "But we didn't even talk about it, and we didn't use it as an excuse. At the end, we were still working hard."

AVALANCHE 6, CANUCKS 2: Milan Hejduk scored 11 seconds in and Dan Hinote got his first goal of the season to lift host Colorado over Vancouver and archenemy Todd Bertuzzi. After the opening faceoff, Hejduk streaked toward the goal and took a feed from Alex Tanguay to beat Alex Auld for the second-fastest goal in franchise history. Every time he touched the puck, Bertuzzi was booed by fans bitter about the cheap shot the forward put on Colorado forward Steve Moore that broke Moore's neck in a 2004 game in Vancouver. Moore has not returned to hockey. Avs left wing Steve Konowalchuk will have surgery to repair torn ligaments in his right wrist and is out for the season.

THRASHERS 5, HURRICANES 2: Ilya Kovalchuk had two goals and two assists, and Marian Hossa scored the go-ahead goal in the third period. Marc Savard and Jean-Pierre Vigier also had goals for the Thrashers, who have taken both meetings with Carolina in the RBC Center. Andrew Ladd and Aaron Ward scored for the Hurricanes, who have lost four of five heading into a six-game road trip that begins Tuesday at Atlanta.

DUCKS 3, BLACKHAWKS 1: Teemu Selanne and Joffrey Lupul broke open a scoreless game in the third period. Mark Bell scored for the sixth straight game - the NHL's longest streak this season - as Chicago went 2-3 on its road trip and fell to 1-11-2 in Anaheim since November 1997.