Caps beat the Sabres 3-2 for their first win of the season

Remember a few days ago after the Capitals lost 4-1 to the Winnipeg Jets and this writer told you to panic? 

Hit the pause button on the painic.

The Capitals beat the Buffalo Sabres 3-2, their first win of the season.

It's the first win of the season for the Caps. 

It wasn't a perfect win but a lot of things looked better.

Maybe the Capitals are understanding bettter what Adam Oates wants from them, the system that he runs.

The shortened training camp was always going to be a bigger problem for any team with a new coach.

One game doesn't prove that everything is all better, but a few things did improve from the first four games.

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One thing that was a lot, lot better for the Caps was the play on the penalty kill.

First, the team didn't take a whole lot of penalties. Coming into the game, the Caps had been shorthanded six times per contest.

Today, they were only shorthanded twice. The Sabres did not score on either opportunity.

The amount of powerplay goals that opponents scored in the first four games was the tipping spoint in most of those games. Good to see the team playing better on the kill and not taking as many penalties.

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Alexander Ovechkin finally lit the lamp in the third period with a powerplay goal.

Remember that powerplay one-timer that he and Mike Green have tried about 200 (exaggerating) times already this season? It hit. Finally.

It was due. Ovechkin was skating better than he had been this season and finally got off that line with Jay Beagle and Joey Crabb, truly an odd line.

This was all before Ovechkin hit the post on an empty net chance with seconds left in the third period.

After the game, the cameras caught Ovechkin in the tunnel congratulating the rest of the team on the win, gap-toothed smile and all.

That empty-net miss was the last thing on his mind.

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Wardwatch is still alive! It's like Baywatch but no David Hasselhoff makes it way better. 

He scored in the first period to tie the game at 1-1 and it was a pretty goal.

It's his third goal of the season, halfway to his tally of six goals for the entirety of last season. 

This afternoon he skated with Mike Ribeiro and Jason Chimera. With the speed of Chimera and Ribeiro's pure assist ability, it's a line with a little bit of everything.

Ward adds the blunt force in front of the net, I guess.

Some kind of grit or something?

I don't know what Ward adds to that line. He added a goal today and that's fine. 

Oates is getting more out of Ward this year. The winger picked up the primary assist on John Erskine's go-ahead goal in the second period.

It'd be nice if Oates could get more scoring out of the top six forwards as well.

 

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