Sabres, Tokarski defeat Capitals, spoil Backstroms 1,000th NHL game

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WASHINGTON Dustin Tokarski made 27 saves for his first NHL win since 2015, and the Buffalo Sabres spoiled Nicklas Backstrom‘s 1,000th game with a 5-2 win against the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena on Thursday.

Anders Bjork had a goal and an assist in his second game for the Sabres (11-25-7), who have a point in eight of their past 10 (5-2-3).

Backstrom had an assist, and Anthony Mantha scored his second goal in as many games with the Capitals (28-12-4), who had won three straight. Vitek Vanecek was pulled after allowing four goals on 21 shots. Craig Anderson made eight saves in relief.

Tokarski’s last win was Dec. 12, 2015, when he made 25 saves for the Montreal Canadiens to defeat the Ottawa Senators 3-1.

The Sabres took a 1-0 lead at 18:50 of the first period when Dylan Cozens‘ shot from the point was deflected midair by Reinhart.

Dmitry Orlov tied it 1-1 at 19:37. After Tokarski saved Orlov’s shot from the point, T.J. Oshie controlled the rebound and passed back to Orlov.

Victor Olafsson gave the Sabres a 2-1 lead at 1:36 of the second period when he stole an errant pass near the Capitals blue line and scored on wrist shot from the right circle.

The lead was 3-1 after Casey Mittelstadt came in on a break and beat Vanecek for a shorthanded goal at 5:42.

The Capitals pulled within 3-2 during a delayed penalty when Mantha shoveled a cross-ice feed from John Carlson past Tokarski at 9:59. Mantha was traded by the Detroit Red Wings on Monday and had a goal and an assist in his Capitals debut Tuesday.

Bjork made it 4-2 when he scored on a one-timer from the left circle at 13:23. The forward was acquired in a trade with the Boston Bruins for Taylor Hall on Monday.

Tage Thompson scored an empty-net goal at 19:17 of the third period to make it 5-2.

Sabres forward Kyle Okposo left the game after getting hit with a puck off the stick of teammate Matt Irwin at 9:27 of the first period.

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