The Buffalo Sabres fell below .500 after losing their third straight game Sunday, a 3-2 loss to the Washington Capitals that was also Buffalo's third straight defeat at the hands of a Southeast Division opponent.
The Sabres dominated much of the first period but couldn't cash in until Tyler Ennis opened the scoring about 10 minutes in. Drew Stafford started the play near center and passed to Steve Ott, who made a cross-ice pass to Ennis for the backhand goal. That was the first goal not scored by Thomas Vanek, Jason Pominville or Cody Hodgson since the season opener, and the first goal of the season with Vanek not on the ice; he sat out with a muscle strain.
The Caps rebounded later in the period, though, evening the score with four minutes left. Jason Chimera took a shot from the point that bounced off Ryan Miller into the slot, and Joel Ward lunged forward to tip it in. That's how the period ended, with Washington holding a 13-10 edge in shots.
The Capitals didn't need much time to take the lead, getting a John Erskine goal 3:18 in off a pass from Ward (and a deflection off Hodgson's stick) to go up 2-1. Buffalo got three late shots in the period but still managed only six. They did, though, limit the Caps to seven.
Alex Ovechkin iced the game five minutes into the third period, burying a one-timer off a Mike Green pass to give the Caps their first two-goal lead of the season. Once Buffalo ditched its pass-first motif and started putting shots on net, Marcus Foligno halved the deficit halfway through the third, putting away an Andrej Sekera rebound. But Buffalo could get no closer.
Washington outshot Buffalo for the game, 30-24, and won more than 60 percent of the faceoffs. The win was Washington's first of the season. Buffalo falls to 2-3-0.
Buffalo next faces off Tuesday at home against Toronto.Tags: Buffalo, Buffalo Sabres, Hockey, NHL