The Buffalo Sabres and Washington Capitals were tied for the last spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race with 84 points apiece going into their game Tuesday night in Washington, D.C. The Capitals at one point looked out of the playoff race, but a recent tear by Alexander Ovechkin changed all that.
Ovechkin's momentum, and that of his team, came to a grinding halt against the Sabres, who raced by the Caps for a 5-1 victory and a two-point lead in the Stanley Cup Playoff race with just five games to play. The Sabres, like the Caps, were out of the playoff picture before they started what's now a five-game winning streak to overtake the Caps. Goalie Ryan Miller saved 44 of 45 shots on goal and Drew Stafford put two past Tomas Vokoun in the win.
The Sabres took a 3-0 lead in this one behind Stafford's first goal, Tomas Vanek's 25th of the season and Cody McCormick's first goal of the year. Alexander Semin got one back for the Caps, but Jason Pominville scored a shorthanded goal late in the second period, effectively killing the Caps' hopes for a comeback. Stafford connected again in the third and that was that. The Caps now need the Sabres to lose and to make a run if they hope to make it back to the Stanley Cup.