The Washington Capitals trail the Buffalo Sabres 2-0 after one period of their crucial Eastern Conference match-up at the Verizon Center.
The Sabres broke on top at 8:45 of the first period when Braden Holtby's attempted pass from behind his own net was intercepted by Brad Boyes, who fed Cody McCormick for an easy tap-in goal, McCormick's first of the season.
Buffalo doubled the lead with 1:55 to go when Drew Stafford converted a second rebound opportunity after Holtby saved two earlier attempts. The puck tricked behind Holtby, who was sprawled in the goal crease, and Stafford poked it over the line for his 18th goal of the season.
The Sabres and Capitals entered the night tied for the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race, as each team has 84 points.