Fate can be a cruel mistress, but when you cannot control your own destiny, then you have a problem.
The Buffalo Sabres entered a hostile environment in Washington Tuesday, but left unscathed and better off in a 5-1 win over the Capitals, moving them into sole possession of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference while also controlling the Caps' playoff hopes.
The onslaught came early and often as Braden Holtby, who had allowed four goals in his previous three starts, allowed three within the first half of the game and was pulled in favor of Michal Neuvirth, who did not fare much better.
Meanwhile, Ryan Miller made a season-high 44 saves and won his 14th game in his last 18 starts as he continues to rally the Sabres.
Both teams have five games left, but the Sabres only have to worry about themselves now. The Caps wish they could say the same.
"Now we're going to start needing a little bit of help and that's kind of the first time we've been in this position," Mike Knuble said. "You've got to set a target of trying to get four out of these five and finish extremely strong. And then even if you do that and hold up that end of the bargain, you've got to wait for a little bit of help somewhere else."