Reprinted from yesterday's late editions
The Buffalo Sabres posses both the second least-effecrive power play and best penalty-killing units in the National Hockey League.
Their play Saturday night belled the former and supported the latter as they notched a power-play goal and one shorthanded score en route to a 2-0 victory over the Washington Capitals at Capital Centre.
Center Don Luce, who two seasons ago scored two shorthanded goals in one game against the Capitals, connected during a Sabre disadvantage 35 seconds into the third period to cement the visitor's second victory in their last eight games.
That second Sabre goal took the life out of the misfiring Caps, who were shut out by the goaltending of Don Edwards on their four power-play opportunities.
"Edwards made great saves, but we helped by missing shots by inches," said Capital Coach Danny Belisle. "But hockey is a game of inches and that's how we've been losing - by inches."
Edwards recorded his fifth regular season victory over the Caps against one tie and his second shutout of the season.He sparked a Sabre defense that has allowed only two goals in the last 25 times the team was one man short.
Washington dominated most of the first period, getting frequent breaks into the Sabre zone. But good defensive play by Jerry Korah, Rene Robert and Edwards kept the Caps scoreless on eight shots.
The Caps twice had power plays in the period, once when Jocelyn Guevremont was caught cross-checking and again when defenseman Bill Stewart was called for tripping.
On the first, Edwards blocked shoes by Rick Green and Bob Girard; on the second, center Dennis Maruk missed two attempts from five feet.
Cap goalie Jim Bedard made several fine glowe saves on Buffalo shots in the period.
A slashing, penalty against Gord Lane gave the Sabres their second power play midway through the second period. With 9:12 expired, GEI Perreault found Robert open three feet inside the blue lime. Robert's ice-hugging sizzler submarined through a trio of Caps for a 1-0 Sabre lead.
It was Robert's second goal of the season and Perreault's seventh assist "I saw the pack all the way," said Bedard. "But I got knocked down and the thing went underneath me."
Poor passing haunted the home team for the remainder of the second period. The Caps had three chances to tie the score: Lane missed from the point, Bill Riley's attempt hit a Sabre then skidded across the crease, and Tom Rowe's shot from close in was covered by Edwards.
Stewart, meanwhile, was charged with holding with 11 seconds left in the period and made his second trip to the penalty box.
A half-minute into the fisal period Luce lifted in a 20-footer to give the visitors a 2-0 lead and seal the fate of the Caps.
The goal, assisted by Korab and Craig Ramsey, was the second short-handed score allowed by the Caps this season. It was Korah's fifth assist in the last five games and 1990 of his career.
"I was way out on him and there were nothing I could do," said Bedard. "He lifted the pack over me and I made a sweeping motion to try and get it," but I missed it."
The Caps blew still another scoring opportunity after Korab left on an ineteference call midway through the period. But Bob Sirois and Guy Charron missed on good chances, Ramsey put in a strong stint as penalty-killer, and generally poor pack-handling on the perimeter all served to deny Washington a score.