WASHINGTON — Jakub Vrana had a goal and an assist, Vitek Vanecek made 24 saves in regulation and overtime and the short-handed Washington Capitals beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 in a shootout in their home opener.
Nicklas Backstrom and Nic Dowd also scored for the Capitals, who won the first of four games they must play without captain Alex Ovechkin, center Evgeny Kuznetsov, defenseman Dmitry Orlov and goaltender Ilya Samsonov because of pandemic protocols.
Sabres rookie Dylan Cozens scored his first NHL goal on a top-shelf snipe past Vanecek in the second period.
Eric Staal and Riley Sheahan also scored their first goals as Sabres.
According to the Sabres' public relations department, this was only the second time in franchise history that three players scored their debut goals for the team. The other time was on October 6, 1982, against Quebec, with Dave Andreychuk, Paul Cyr and Hannu Virta.