Ovechkin scores in return, Capitals defeat Sabres 6-1

WASHINGTON (AP) — Curtis Glencross notched a goal and two assists, Alex Ovechkin returned from a one-game absence to score his league-leading 44th goal and the Washington Capitals defeated the Buffalo Sabres 6-1 on Saturday night.

Jay Beagle added a goal and an assist for Washington, which broke a 1-all tie with three second-period scores.

Brooks Laich, Joel Ward, and Marcus Johansson also scored, and Mike Green and Nicklas Backstrom had two assists apiece.

Braden Holtby made 16 saves.

Johan Larsson scored for Buffalo, which has lost the first four games of a five-game road trip.

Ovechkin sat out Washington’s last game with a lower body injury. He added an assist against the Sabres and has five goals in his last three games.

Matt Hackett, recalled Saturday from Rochester of the AHL, stopped 19 of 23 shots before being lifted in the second period.

With the Sabres playing the second of back-to-backs games, and newly acquired Chad Johnson out with a lower body injury, Buffalo called on Hackett to make his second NHL start of the season.

He was pulled in favor of Anders Lindback, who started Friday night’s game, after Laich’s goal made it 4-1 at 13:53 of the second period.

Lindback stopped 20 shots, including a penalty shot by Ovechkin with 39 seconds left in the second.

The teams were tied 1-1 after one. Washington went ahead when Beagle fed Troy Brouwer in front. His shot was blocked by Hackett, but Beagle fired the rebound over the sprawling netminder for his 10th goal.

Ovechkin made it 3-1 with a power-play goal at 9:31. The shot came from his usual power-play spot in the left circle, but rather than blasting a one-timer, Ovechkin secured the puck, waited momentarily, then wristed it past Hackett.

Tom Wilson’s play led to Washington’s fourth goal. He reached up and blocked a Buffalo clearing attempt, then fed Laich, who fired a high shot home for his sixth goal and first since Jan. 7.

Ward added a power play goal at 3:41 of the third and Johansson closed out the scoring at 17:01.

Larsson put the Sabres ahead just 2:35 in, but Glencross got the equalizer for the Capitals less than three minutes later.

It was his 11th of the season and second in three games since coming to Washington in a trade from Calgary.

NOTES: Buffalo D Andrej Meszaraos left the game after being hit by a Brooks Orpik shot in the first period and didn’t return. . The Sabres sent F Mikhail Grigorenko and G Andrey Makarov to Rochester. . Backstrom (418) pulled into a tie for first place on the franchise assist list with Michal Pivonka.

This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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