On April 13, 1997, the Washington Capitals defeated the Buffalo Sabres by a score of 8-3 in Buffalo.
Michael Peca opened the scoring for the Sabres at 2:37 of the first with his 2oth goal of the season, an unassisted shorthanded score. It took Washington more than 11 minutes to draw even. Peter Bondra knotted the score at 13:44 of the period. Bondra's goal - assisted by Phil Housley and Sylvain Cote - was his 46th of the season. Less than three minutes later, Andrei Nikolishin netted his ninth of the year on a Washington power play to give the Caps a lead they would not relinquish. Cote picked up the solo assist on Nikolishin's goal. Washington rookie Yogi Svejkovsky started off what would prove to be a career night for him when he tallied his fourth of the season at 17:23. Joe Reekie earned the lone assist. Less than a minute later, Svejkovsky struck again with help from Brendan Witt and Andrew Brunette. The Caps bombarded beleaguered Buffalo goaltender Steve Shields with 17 shots in the first period. The Sabres had only five against Washington goaltender Olie Kolzig.
Ken Klee scored Washington's fifth unanswered goal at 5:48 of the second period. Craig Berube and Dale Hunter picked up the assists on Klee's third goal of the season. Buffalo then rallied with a pair of goals - Wayne Primeau's power play strike at 9:15 and Dixon Ward's goal at 10:33 - to pull within a pair. But the Caps' Phil Housley took the starch out of the Sabres' comeback when he scored with just one second remaining in the middle period. Housley's goal was his 11th and was assisted by Bondra and Nikolishin. The Caps edged the Sabres in second period shots on goal, 9-8.
Svejkovsky completed his hat trick with an even-strength goal at 12:18 of the third period. Kevin "Killer" Kaminski registered the lone assist on Svejkovsky's third goal of the evening. With 3:46 remaining, Svejkovsky closed out the scoring with his fourth of the night and seventh of the season, Brunette and Kaminski assisting. It was Kaminski's first-ever multiple-point game in the NHL; it would also turn out to be the final contest of his 139-game NHL career. Caps defenseman Joe Reekie was a plus-five on the night against his former team. The Caps outshot Buffalo 12-11 in the third period and 38-24 on the night.The game closed out a disappointing regular season for Washington, which finished with a 33-40-9 record. It marked the first time in 15 years that the Capitals did not participate in the postseason and also marked the end of the David Poile management era in DC. Poile and head coach Jim Schoenfeld were fired at season's end.
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