Backstrom, Bourque help Capitals jolt Sabres

BUFFALO, New York (Ticker) — Nicklas Backstrom recorded a goal
and an assist as the Washington Capitals posted a 4-2 triumph
over the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday.

Rookie Chris Bourque, who is the son of Hockey Hall of Famer Ray
Bourque, netted his first career NHL goal for Washington, which
secured its fourth consecutive victory and improved to 9-1-0 in
its last 10 games.

Brooks Laich and Boyd Gordon also tallied, Viktor Kozlov notched
two assists and Jose Theodore finished with 31 saves for the

“We got the early goal and it was important,” Backstrom said.
“We played together and we worked together. We’re playing solid
every game. Hopefully we can continue that in the new year.”

“We have everybody playing with confidence,” Theodore said. “It
was time to put everything aside and play the way we can.”

Adam Mair and Clarke MacArthur scored and Ryan Miller turned
aside 27 shots for Buffalo, which fell to 6-4-2 in its last 12

“It’s embarrassing,” Buffalo’s Thomas Vanek said. “You want to
be strong at home, we talk about it all the time and it hasn’t
happened yet. It’s past Christmas. Key guys need to be better
and I’m one of them.”

“It wasn’t a very strong effort, from every position starting
with myself,” Miller said. “Three rebound goals … I’m not
thrilled with getting in the way of the first one. I need a
little better awareness on my part.”

Laich opened the scoring 1:57 into the first period after
cleaning up a rebound before beating Miller for his 11th goal of
the season.

READ ALSO:  Kevin Westgarth's Blog: Preparing for a new season

Drafted in the second round – 33rd overall – in the 2004 draft,
Bourque doubled the advantage just over seven minutes later
after collecting the puck in the slot and wristing it past

“It’s awesome that I got that first one. It was surreal,”
Bourque said. “I couldn’t believe it was right there. It was a
perfect shot by ‘Stecks’ (Dave Steckel) and I crashed the net
hard. I got lucky with the rebound right on my stick. I wasn’t
going to miss that one.”

“I was really happy with Chris getting his first NHL goal,”
Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said. “The goal in the second
period was the one that really gives you some breathing room.
The way we reacted after they scored was very nice.”

With his team on the power play, Backstrom gave the Capitals a
three-goal bulge with 7:49 remaining in the second period with
his 11th goal of the season.

“Rebounds were the key,” Boudreau said. “We scored three
rebound goals – and an empty-netter. The shots are going to set
the plays up, it doesn’t work the other way around.”

Theodore’s bid for his second shutout of the season and 28th
career came to an end with just over 12 minutes remaining in the
third period as Mair netted his fifth goal of the season.

Gordon added an empty-net tally with 43 seconds remaining in the
third before MacArthur netted his 11th tally with 11 seconds
left to cap the scoring.