Sabres 5, Capitals 2

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP)—Miroslav Satan never doubted himself during one of his worst slumps of his career.

Satan scored two goals, and Mika Noronen made 18 saves to lead the Buffalo Sabres to a 5-2 victory over the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night.

Satan, who hadn’t scored since Oct. 30 against Toronto, ended an 11-game scoring drought with his sixth and seventh goals of the season.

“I’ve been waiting for this type of game,” Satan said. “To tell you the truth, I didn’t change much today from the usual things I do. Sometimes you have chances and they don’t go in and sometimes you have two shots and get two goals. I’m glad that it’s over.”

Satan, who inked a two-year, $10 million contract after holding out most of training camp, has recently come under fire from coach Lindy Ruff.

Ruff benched Satan for a good portion of the third period on Nov. 12 against New Jersey. Last week, Ruff spoke about possibly sitting Satan out for a game or two.

Satan and Ruff met for an hour after Tuesday’s practice to discuss the forward’s problems.

“It’s a step in the right direction,” Ruff said. “He was very frustrated and I’m frustrated. We’ve got to come to an agreement on how we want him to play.”

The loss was costly for the Capitals, who played most of the game without Jaromir Jagr. The high-scoring forward hurt his groin after playing nearly seven minutes in the first period. He didn’t return and is day-to-day.

“I don’t know when it happened,” Capitals coach Bruce Cassidy said. “Obviously it happened early in the period. I was just told he wasn’t coming back.”

J.P. Dumont and Dmitri Kalinin each added a goal and an assist, and Ales Kotalik also scored for Buffalo, which snapped a two-game losing streak.

“It was a pretty easy game for me,” Noronen said. “Our guys played well and created a lot of chances to score.”

Daniel Briere and Chris Drury each had two assists for the Sabres, 2-3 in their last five games.

Robert Lang, who came in tied for the NHL lead in scoring, and Ivan Ciernik had goals for the Capitals—2-2-0-1 in their last five.

Ciernik’s goal was his first of the season.

“We had the scoring chances but didn’t put it in,” said Lang, who has 10 goals and 21 points during his 13-game point streak. “It’s tough to win when you don’t bury your chances.”

Rookie goalie Rastislav Stana started his second straight game for the Capitals and allowed five goals on 26 shots. He was coming off a 4-1 victory over Detroit on Monday, his first career win and start.

“I felt pretty good,” Stana said. “Hopefully I’ll do better next time.”

Lang gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead with his 13th goal just 1:37 in. Jagr assisted on the goal, extending his point streak to nine games.

The Capitals, though, were unable to build on the early lead.

“They got themselves back in the game,” Cassidy said. “We are not very resilient and we weren’t tonight.”

Buffalo scored four second-period goals to break the game open. It was the second time this season the Sabres scored four times in a period.

“It was a very good period from a sense we created some really good chances,” Ruff said.

It was the second straight home game in which the Sabres scored five goals. They shut out Carolina 5-0 last Friday but lost their last two games to TampaBay and Florida by a combined score of 4-2.

Notes

Satan went through a career-long 13-game scoreless span in the 2001-02 season. … Washington has scored two goals or fewer in 17 of their last 19 games. … Dumont has five goals and eight points in his last six games. … Washington LW Bates Battaglia was placed on injured reserve before the game because of a foot injury. Washington activated LW Matt Pettinger, who missed 11 games with a concussion. … Kalinin’s goal was his fourth in five gamesagainst Washington.

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Three Stars

  Game Winning Goal
M. Satan M. Satan
Buffalo Sabres
Scored at 13:20 of 2nd

Goaltending

Goalie Team Shot Save
Rastislav Stana Was 26 21
Mika Noronen Van 20 18