In a pivotal matchup with potential playoff implications, the Sabres came through. Drew Stafford’s two goals led the Sabres to a 5-1 victory over the Capitals at the Verizon Center Tuesday night.
With the win, the Sabres took sole possession of 8th place in the Eastern Conference with five games remaining in the regular season.
The Sabres have now won five straight games, and have outscored their opponents 22-6 during that span.
Ryan Miller secured his 30th win of the year, making it seven consecutive seasons in which he has hit the 30-win plateau. Miller stopped 44 of 45 shots on the night.
The Sabres chased Washington’s starting goalie in this one. After shutting out the Wild on Sunday, Braden Holtby was pulled after allowing three goals on 18 shots.
Tyler Ennis earned a pair of assists on the night, giving him 22 points in the last 21 games. Cody McCormick scored his first goal of the season, putting the Sabres up 1-0 in the first period. Stafford tapped home his 18th of the season, giving Buffalo a 2-0 lead as the teams headed into the first intermission.
Thomas Vanek ripped a shot past Braden Holtby, giving the Sabres a 3-0 lead early in the second period. Vanek’s goal ended the night for Holtby.
The Capitals got on the board with a goal from Alexander Semin just over five minutes into the second period, but that was all the scoring they would do.
After a hooking call to Robyn Regehr, the Capitals had an opportunity to cut the lead in half, but their plan backfired. Jason Pominville stole the puck and rushed down on a 2-on-1 rush, faked a pass, and ripped it home, putting Buffalo up 4-1.
Christian Ehrhoff left the game with a knee injury and did not return.
The Sabres will head home to host the Penguins on Friday. That game is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.