HSBC Arena hasn't been historically kind to the Washington Capitals, where the team is 1-7-0 in their last eight visits to the land of Buffalo wings. But alas, the Caps set the record straight against the Buffalo Sabres with a solid victory in front of a bummed-out home crowd.
Brooks Laich continued on his smoking hot scoring streak, notching the first Capitals' goal in the first period. And a huge Hockey Mom toast to Chris Bourque, who scored his first NHL goal tonight - I'm sure his dad was sporting a huge smile! Nicklas Backstrom netted the third goal to make it a 3 - 0 contest into the third period. Net minder Jose Theodore, whose game seems to be improving as the season goes on, had another fine showing. Theo rendered the Sabres scoreless until late in the third when a shot by Adam Mair took a lucky bounce off the post (ping!) to make the score 3 - 1.
HM was eager to see Sabres' prospect Nathan Gerbe suit up for the opposition. Gerbe was the MVP of last year's Frozen Four and led Boston College to the 2008 NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Championship. All of this, and he stands a mere 5'6. You know how Hockey Mom is always rooting for the little guys - especially in the NHL where the average player is 6 feet tall or over!
A flurry of action broke out with under 60 seconds in the third period, as Boyd Gordon scored on a short-handed empty net goal and then the Sabres' Clarke MacArthur slid the puck in on Theodore. So the Caps end 2008 with another win (final score: 4 -2) and head home for a string of games at the Verizon Center, where they've outscored opponents 59-31. Not a bad way to kick off 2009!