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Ovechkin scores 35th goal in Capitals’ 3-2 win over Sabres


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BUFFALO, N.Y. — Alex Ovechkin scored his league-leading 35th goal, and the Washington Capitals reclaimed the top spot in the Metropolitan Division with a 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Monday.

John Carlson had a goal and assist and Philipp Grubauer stopped 32 shots in a game Washington led 2-0 after two periods.

Evgeny Kuznetsov sealed the victory by scoring into an open net with 26 seconds remaining, and the Capitals ended a four-game road trip at 2-1-1 and bounced back from a 7-1 loss at Chicago on Saturday.

Washington improved to 34-18-7 for 75 points, moving one ahead of the idle Pittsburgh Penguins.

Kyle Okposo spoiled Grubauer’s shutout bid by having Scott Wilson’s shot from the high slot deflect in off him with 7:18 remaining to cut Washington’s lead to 2-1.

Evander Kane then closed the scoring with a goal with 4 seconds left in a final period in which Buffalo managed 17 of its 34 shots.

Backup goalie Chad Johnson stopped 27 shots.

The Sabres dropped to 2-7-1 in their past 10 home games.

Washington’s first two goals had to be reviewed.

Ovechkin scored 1:18 into the second period by getting his stick up to bat down Christian Djoos’ rising shot from the left point and bounce it inside the left post. The goal held up upon a video review, in which the NHL determined Ovechkin’s stick was not above the crossbar.

Carlson scored with 6:27 left in the second period during a scramble for the puck to the left of the Buffalo net. Carlson jammed the puck loose and into the crease, where it briefly rolled across the goal line an instant before Okposo kicked it out.

Play continued until the next whistle with 6:13 left, when a review determined the puck went in.

NOTES: A few hours before the opening faceoff, the Capitals acquired D Michal Kempny in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks for a conditional 2018 third-round pick. … Sabres recalled G Linus Ullmark from AHL Rochester to back up Johnson with starter Robin Lehner day to day with a lower body injury. … After being held without a shot in a 7-1 loss at Chicago on Saturday, Ovechkin got two of Washington’s 14 shots in the first period.


Capitals: At home against Eastern Conference-leading Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.

Sabres: Play next two on road, starting at Detroit Red Wings on Thursday.


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