Sabres score 4 in first, beat Capitals 4-2
- Sabres' Thomas Vanek, left, vies for the puck with Capitals' Alex Ovechkin. (AP Photo/David Duprey)
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Brayden McNabb capped Buffalo's four-goal first period with his first NHL goal and the Sabres cruised to a 4-2 win over the Washington Capitals on Monday night.
Jason Pominville, Matt Ellis and Christian Ehrhoff also scored in the first period for the Sabres, who snapped a three-game skid to improve to 4-6-2 in their last 12 games.
Ryan Miller, making his sixth straight start, finished with 20 saves. Matt Hendricks and Alex Ovechkin scored for Washington, which fell to 1-2-1 in its last four.
Michal Neuvirth started for the fifth straight time, but was pulled midway through the first period after allowing three goals on six shots. He was replaced by Tomas Vokoun, who allowed one goal on 17 shots.
Buffalo's depth at forward was bolstered by the return of Jochen Hecht (foot) and Brad Boyes (ankle). They each contributed an assist. Ovechkin's power-play goal made it 4-2 with 10:09 left.
After falling behind by four in the first period, Washington broke through on Hendricks' goal with 17 seconds left in the second period.
Standing in front of Miller, he was able to deflect Mathieu Perreault's shot from the high slot to make it 4-1 after two.
The Sabres struck first with a pair of goals on their first four shots. Pominville opened the scoring with a power-play goal 51 seconds in, converting Drew
Stafford's pass with a one-timer from the inner edge of the left circle. Ellis made it 2-0 at 3:10 of the first, slipping a backhand past Neuvirth off a faceoff in the left circle.
Ehrhoff then chased Neuvirth with a harmless-looking snap shot from the right point that fluttered in to push Buffalo's lead to 3-0 with 8:45 left in the opening period.
McNabb made it 4-0 with 5:46 remaining with a power-play goal. It was the first shot Vokoun faced.
NOTES: These teams meet again Friday in Washington. ... Hecht missed six games with his injury, while Boyes missed the past 13. The Sabres are still without six players due to injury, including LW Ville Leino (lower body) and D Tyler Myers (wrist). ... The Capitals fell to 9-4-2 in their last 15 games against the Sabres. ... The Capitals are 5-6-1 under coach Dale Hunter, who replaced Bruce Boudreau after Washington's 5-1 loss at Buffalo on Nov. 26.
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