BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Washington Capitals appeared to have plenty of incentive to play hard and win last night, as coach Jim Schoenfeld returned to where he spent most of his NHL career to be inducted into the Buffalo Sabres' Hall of Fame.
The effort was there. The results were not.
"It would've been great if we could've won this one for him," Caps forward Pat Peake said. "This was a very emotional day for him. There were a lot of people happy to see him get honored, and a win would've just topped everything off."
Washington dominated the last 50 minutes of the game, and outshot the Sabres 52-26, but couldn't solve goalie Dominik Hasek.
The Sabres' Yuri Khmylev scored with 2:44 left in the third period to forge the tie.
"I thought our players gave a tremendous effort tonight," Schoenfeld said. "We did a lot of things right. We're not the first team Hasek stole one from and we won't be the last."
The Caps and Sabres entered with 11-13-2 records. Both teams rely heavily on one prolific offensive player, Peter Bondra for Washington and Pat LaFontaine for Buffalo. They both struggle to score three goals a game and often are bailed out by star goalies, Jim Carey and Hasek.
But last night some of the loudest applause was reserved for Schoenfeld.
"I only have happy memories of being a Sabre," Schoenfeld said. "It feels great. There's no way around it. It's a very nice feeling."
Perhaps the Caps were trying a little too hard to imitate their coach's style of play in the first period.
Washington fell behind 1-0 less than five minutes into the game and spent most of the period killing penalties, including a five-minute major Calle Johansson picked up for high-sticking Brad May, which got the former Sabre ejected.
The Caps also played two men down for 49 seconds and racked up 30 penalty minutes in the period overall, but Carey made several diving saves to keep the deficit at one.
Then Keith Jones, Dale Hunter and Bondra crashed the net with 2:28 left in the period on the Caps' third power play of the game, with Jones banging home a loose puck for his ninth goal to tie the game.
The Caps pelted Hasek, the winner of the past two Vezina Trophies, with 52 shots.
"He stopped everything," defenseman Mark Tinordi said.