|The Buffalo Sabres celebrate after their pivotal |
5-1 victory over the Washington Capitals.
(Mitchell Layton/NHLI via Getty Images)
Ryan Miller looked impressive between the pipes making 44 saves on 45 shots and Drew Stafford found the back of the net twice as the Sabres won the game 5-1 on the road. It was their first win in Washington since April 3, 2009. They clinched a 3-1-0 season-series record against the Capitals making the statement that they are the stronger team. Buffalo Sabres defeat Washington Capitals in regulation (+27.0%).
Ryan Miller is 14-1-3 over his past 18 games, and has allowed only 32 goals over this stretch. In his past ten games, Miller is 8-0-2. But he attributes much of his success to the players in front of him. "It was pretty important to have everybody going," said Miller. "Every line contributed and everybody played hard. It was a great team effort, and the perfect time to do it." More after the jump.
|Eastern Conference Standings - March 28|
Also scoring for the Sabres were Cody McCormick, Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville. McCormick registered his first goal in 67 games since February 2011, making him the 30th Sabre to score a goal this season. That number ties the franchise record set in the 1986-87 season and matched in the 1987-88 and 1991-92 seasons. The last team to have more than 30 players score a goal in a season was the 2006-07 Phoenix Coyotes with 32. Pominville inserted the dagger when he showed up Alex Ovechkin, stealing the puck and skating in to score his second shorthanded goal of the season.
Some Sabres fans who attended the game last night called into WGR550 this morning and mentioned how Pominville’s goal at 17:32 of the second period took the air out of the Verizon Center. Washington defenseman Karl Alzner said, "I thought we were starting to feel pretty good about ourselves. The crowd was feeling pretty good, I think. And that (goal) was a real killer." Washington fans left their seats making it easier for the Buffalo chants to fill the arena. Midway through the third it was like the Sabres were the home team as they cruised to victory.
The Sabres now stand eighth in the Eastern Conference with 86 points, two more than Washington and two fewer than seventh-place Ottawa. All three of these teams have five games remaining. Overall last night, playoff odds increased 28.2 to 67.6%. Take a look at the graph below which shows the drastic increase in the Sabres' playoff odds since their improved play in the month of March.
|Buffalo Sabres Playoff Chances - March 28|
The Sabres will enjoy today off as well as tomorrow. They are in action next on Friday when the Pittsburgh Penguins visit the First Niagara Center. The puck drops at 7:30pm ET.