BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP)—The Buffalo Sabres have a knack of providing offensive outbursts at the end of the year.
It was the first time the Sabres had two players with hat tricks in the same game since Alexander Mogilny and Yuri Khmylev did it against the New York Rangers exactly 11 years earlier on Dec. 31, 1992.
“It’s fun when everyone is scoring like that,” said Satan, who took over the team-lead in goals with 13. “The last couple of games we’ve been playing much better and we’re getting a lot of chances.”
Buffalo had its highest scoring game since beating Atlanta 8-0 on Nov. 8, 2001. The Sabres also registered a season-high 42 shots, breaking the old mark of 40 set against the Capitals four days earlier.
Buffalo won that game 3-1 and is 3-0 against Washington this season.
“We scored seven goals, but we couldn’t take that team for granted,” said Afinogenov, who hadn’t scored since netting the game-winner on Dec. 3 against Chicago, a span of 10 games. “We had to work hard and we did.”
Jeff Halpern scored for Washington, which lost its third straight. The Capitals have allowed 40 or more shots in four of five games.
“We just didn’t have the puck and we got behind,” Washington coach Glen Hanlon said.
After Afinogenov gave Buffalo a 1-0 lead in the first period, the Sabres broke the game open with five second-period goals. Satan scored two goals 22 seconds apart when the Capitals were short-handed by two men.
“We haven’t had a lot of breaks,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. “We’ve been taking it to teams and we have to just keep sticking to it, and tonight, we were rewarded for it.”
Afinogenov capped his three-goal game with 1:35 remaining in the second, scoring on his own rebound following a shot that goaltender Maxime Ouellet kicked out.
Satan completed his hat trick at 5:15 of the third with a one-timer from the slot.
“I was able to get some shots through,” said Satan, who had a goal and an assist against the Capitals on Saturday.
Ouellet allowed all seven goals on 42 shots.
“We were still in the game after the first period, but they got goal after goal after goal in the second,” said Ouellet, making his third start this season and fifth career NHL appearance.
Over the last six games, Washington is 1-4-1 and has been outshot 234-151 and outscored 22-12.
“We’ve been talking about paying attention in the defensive zone but we haven’t been able to accomplish that,” Ouellet said.
Biron made 25 saves in breaking his three-game losing streak. He was making just his third appearance in 12 games after No. 1 goalie Mika Noronen was placed on the injured list with a groin injury on Tuesday.
“I felt good,” Biron said. “It wasn’t a perfect game. I scrambled a few times but this was a good building step.”
Washington, outshot for the sixth straight game, is tied for last place with Pittsburgh in the Eastern Conference with 26 points. They are 3-5-2 under Hanlon, who replaced the fired Bruce Cassidy on Dec. 10.
The Capitals were also unable to record its 1,000th franchise victory forthe third time.
The Sabres played without captain James Patrick, who hurt his groin on Monday against Carolina. … Washington is 2-9-2 against the Northeast Division. … Buffalo is 12-9-1-1 on New Year’s Eve. The Capitals hadn’t played on Dec. 31 since losing to the New York Islanders in 1988. … Capitals D Chris Hajt played in just his second NHL game. He is the son of former Sabres defenseman Bill Hajt. … Former Sabres’ Jim Lorentz (1973) and Danny Gare(1979) also had hat tricks for Buffalo on New Year’s Eve.