BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen stopped 22 shots and the Buffalo Sabres played the role of playoff spoilers with a 4-2 win over the Washington Capitals on Thursday night.

Alex Tuch, Zach Benson, Jack Quinn and Dylan Cozens, with an empty-netter, scored for the Sabres playing their last home game of the season, and two days after they extended their NHL-record playoff drought to a 13th season following a 3-2 loss at Dallas.

It marked Washington’s second loss at Buffalo in nine days following a 6-2 decision on April 2.

The Capitals dropped to 1-5-2 in their past seven and squandered an opportunity to keep pace in a tightly contested race for the Eastern Conference’s eighth and final playoff spot. Washington, coming off a 2-1 win at Detroit on Tuesday, opened the day holding the eighth spot, with three teams within two points.

Connor McMichael and Tom Wilson had goals for a Capitals team that has not scored three or more goals in its past eighth outings, dating to a 4-3 overtime win over Detroit on March 26.

Charlie Lindgren allowed three goals on 16 shots.

The Capitals once again had trouble containing the Sabres’ speed and creativity after allowing Buffalo to blow open the last meeting with three goals in the first 5:33 of the third period.

Quinn all but sealed the victory by putting the Sabres up 3-1 with 9:46 remaining. Driving in from the right point, the rookie made a creative move to get around defender Nick Jensen and work his way into the slot from where he snapped a shot inside the left post.

Though Washington controlled the pace for much for the first period, it was the Sabres who opened the scoring on Benson’s goal with a minute left, when he deflected in Jeff Skinner’s shot from the top of the right circle.

Tuch made it 2-0 at the 12:37 mark of the second period when the Capitals defensemen paid too much respect for the Sabres speed. The defense backed up, allowing the Sabres to gain the zone, with Henri Jokiharju drawing two defenders before he fed Tuch, who fired in a 35-footer from the high slot.

McMichael responded, scoring 1:59 later by getting behind the Sabres defense and redirecting Max Pacioretty’s centering pass into the net from the right boards.

Wilson scored with one minute remaining and frustrations boiled over with the game ending in a brawl, highlighted by Thompson squaring off with Pacioretty.


Capitals: Have three games left, starting with hosting Tampa Bay on Saturday.

Sabres: Close season with games at Florida on Saturday, and Tampa Bay on Monday.


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