January 27, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Buffalo Sabres in the third period at Verizon Center. The Capitals won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Caps Notes: Capitals Look Much Improved In Victory Over Sabres

The Capitals looked much-improved tonight in their 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Here’s a few quick notes on the game:

– Alex Ovechkin seemed more like himself this afternoon. His muscle memory seemed more intact, as he handled the puck quite well, and he managed to strike a great balance of when to pass and when to shoot. He picked up an assist in the game, and he certainly could’ve had more. He also put some great shots on net, unfortunately sending his final shot off the crossbar in the final seconds. But the goal should provide a huge boost for him, and now that opposing teams will see him as more of a threat, that will open things up for other players on the attack.

– Michael Neuvirth returned to what we’re used to as well. One save in the second period particularly stood out, when he managed to throw his legs to the right side to deny a shot despite being face-first on the ice. After giving up that relatively easy goal in overtime last night and allowing four goals the night before against Montreal.

– Continuing with the theme of improvement, it seemed like the entire roster just seemed to play according to the system today. Something I talked about in my pre-game notes, the key was going to be covering the back half of the zone when defensemen step up on offense. That happened today, and it shows on the scoresheet.

The Caps will look to build off two strong performances on Tuesday as they march into Ottawa to face the Senators. The key to that game will be scoring first. The Capitals play noticeably better when they have a lead, and having that cushion will be important while they continue to learn the system of new head coach Adam Oates.

Tags: Washington Capitals

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