Capitals beat Sabres 6-4; Laviolette wins Washington debut

January 15, 2021 GMT
Washington Capitals forward Conor Sheary (73) carries the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Buffalo Sabres, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)
Washington Capitals forward Conor Sheary (73) carries the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Buffalo Sabres, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — T.J. Oshie had a goal and two assists and Washington made a winner of coach Peter Laviolette in his Capitals’ debut, beating the Buffalo Sabres 6-4 on Thursday night.

Jakub Vrana stripped Eric Staal of the puck in front of Buffalo’s net and scored 46 seconds into the third period to preserve the win after the Capitals were in jeopardy of squandering a 4-1 lead. Vrana’s goal came 26 seconds after defenseman Jake McCabe cut Buffalo’s deficit to 4-3 by scoring on a shot from the right point.

John Carlson and Nicklas Backstrom had a goal and assist each and Brenden Dillon also scored for the Capitals. Alex Ovechkin set up the first two goals.

Ilya Samsonov stopped 22 shots in his first game as the Capitals’ starter following Braden Holtby’s offseason departure.


NEW YORK (AP) — Anders Lee scored two goals and joined Brock Nelson and Mathew Barzal with first-period scores as the Islanders beat the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

Semyon Varlamov stopped 24 shots for his 28th career shutout and third with the Islanders. Defenseman Nick Leddy added two assists.

Igor Shesterkin made 29 saves as the Rangers fell in the first of eight games between the rivals. Alexis Lafreniere, the first overall selection of the 2020 NHL draft, made his debut and recorded one shot in 15:27 minutes of ice time.


NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Brad Marchand had a goal and an assist, then scored the only goal in the shootout as Boston beat New Jersey, spoiling Lindy Ruff’s debut as Devils coach.

Marchand scored a power-play goal and set up another by Nick Ritchie for the Bruins, who won the Presidents’ Trophy for having the best record in the NHL during the 2019-20 regular season. Tuukka Rask made 20 saves, including two on breakaways in overtime, and added two stops in the shootout.

Miles Wood and rookie defenseman Ty Smith scored for New Jersey, which missed the playoffs last year. Mackenzie Blackwood was outstanding in making 35 saves. He also stopped Charlie Coyle and Ondrej Kase in the shootout.


DETROIT (AP) — Nino Niederreiter scored early in the first period and Petr Mrazek made 14 saves for a shutout, helping Carolina beat Detroit.

Ryan Ddzingel scored on a power play with 2:34 left and Andrei Svechnikov added an empty-net goal.

Detroit goalie Thomas Greiss made only one save before he gave up a goal, but he stopped 40 shots to give his offensively challenged team a chance for two-plus periods.

The Red Wings, who were easily the NHL’s worst team last season, played for the first time since they lost to Carolina at home on March 10, 2020.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Filip Forsberg scored the tiebreaking goal at 5:48 of the third period to lead Nashville over Columbus.

Luke Kunin and Calle Jarnkrok also scored for the Predators, who have won 11 of their last 14 home openers. Juuse Saros made 29 saves.

Boone Jenner had the goal for Columbus.

Joonas Korpisalo finished with 32 saves.


WINNIPEG, Manatoba (AP) — Patrik Laine scored his second goal of the game in overtime to give Winnipeg a victory over Calgary in the opener for both teams.

The Finnish winger scored 1:18 into extra time, using speed to create space before beating goalie Jacob Markstrom in tight.

Mark Schiefele and Kyle Connor also scored for the Jets, and Connor Hellebuyck stopped 23 shots.

Elias Lindholm, Matthew Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau scored for Calgary. Markstrom made 30 saves in his Calgary debut after signing a six-year, $36 million deal in free agency.


GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Martin Jones stopped Clayton Keller in a shootout and San Jose bounced back after Arizona’s Phil Kessel scored with 3.2 seconds left in regulation.

The Coyotes trailed 3-1 after Evander Kane’s goal midway through the third period, but scored twice in the final 3:30 to force overtime. Keller scored the first after some nifty stickhandling by Conor Garland and Kessel tied it on a rebound.

Jones stopped the Coyotes on a two-man break in overtime and turned Keller away after Garland hit the post on the previous attempt. Jones had 34 saves in the 2021 opener for both teams.

Tomas Hertl had two goals and an assist for San Jose. Kane added a goal and two assists.

Darcy Kuemper stopped 32 shots for Arizona.


EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Connor McDavid had a hat trick and an assist, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored twice and added an assist and Edmonton beat Vancouver.

Leon Draisaitl, the NHL’s top scorer last season, had four assists to help the Oilers rebound from a 5-3 loss to the Canucks a night earlier in the opener for both teams.

Mikko Koskinen made 38 saves for the Oilers.

Nate Schmidt and Tyler Motte scored for Vancouver, and Thatcher Demko stopped 41 shots.


LAS VEGAS (AP) — Mark Stone scored the tiebreaking goal early in the third period, Robin Lehner made 20 saves and Vegas beat Anaheim in the teams’ opener.

The Golden Knights improved to 9-2-2 against Anaheim since entering the league in 2017.

Jonathan Marchessault, Tomas Nosek, Max Pacioretty and Alex Tuch also scored for Vegas.

Maxime Comtois scored Anaheim’s goals, both in the first 7:58 of the game, marking the fastest two goals by an NHL player to start a season in more than 15 years. The last NHL player to score two goals in the first eight minutes of a season was Jeremy Roenick of the Los Angeles Kings, who scored two goals in the first 4:18 on Oct. 5, 2005 in Dallas.

John Gibson made 24 saves for the Ducks.


LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kirill Kaprizov scored his first NHL goal with 1:13 remaining in overtime and finished with three points as Minnesota rallied to beat Los Angeles.

The 23-year-old Russian scored on a breakaway, putting the puck past Los Angeles goaltender Jonathan Quick. Kaprizov, who is the third Russian-born player to make his NHL debut with the Wild, also had a pair of assists.

Minnesota trailed 3-1 after two periods before rallying. Jonas Brodin, Victor Rask and Marcus Foligno also scored for the Wild. Cam Talbot made 32 saves in his Minnesota debut.

Dustin Brown scored his 300th goal, Jeff Carter had a goal and an assist and Andreas Athanasiou also scored for Los Angeles. Quick stopped 23 shots.

___ and