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Sabres Vs. Capitals: Alex Ovechkin's Goal Caps Wild 5-4 Overtime Victory Over Sabres, First Place In East

If the playoffs started Saturday, the Washington Capitals and Buffalo Sabres would meet in the first round. Based on Saturday's potential preview, the series would not disappoint.

Alex Ovechkin's shot deflected off of a Buffalo defender and into the net to give the Capitals a 5-4 win over the Sabres and first place in the Eastern Conference.

"It's always nice when you score the overtime goal," Ovechkin said. "I had a pretty good chance to today to score [a] goal, but I missed the net and the goalie played well, but it's nice to score."

A fast-paced first period that saw the Capitals blow a 2-0 lead gave way to a dull second period that saw 19 combined shots, but no goals. The third period, however, was much more exciting.

Paul Gaustad gave the Sabres their first lead at 12:35 of the third period when the Sabres took advantage of a Marcus Johansson turnover and Gaustad deked Michal Neuvirth (34 saves) and slipped the puck through his legs. Washington would respond on the power play less than two minutes later when Mike Knuble (two goals) deflected Brooks Laich's slapshot from the point through Jhonas Enroth's legs.

Not to be outdone, the Sabres would score a power play goal of their own at 16:39. Drew Stafford drove to the net and shot on Neuvirth. Neuvirth made the initial save, but a charging John Carlson kicked the puck into his own net to give the Sabres a 4-3 lead.

With time running out, Gaustad committed a penalty and the Caps pulled Neuvirth, setting up a 6-on-4. With pressure mounting, Enroth couldn't handle a rebound and Jason Arnott backhanded his 400th career goal into the net to tie the game. And in overtime, Ovechkin would bank the puck off of a Sabres defender to win the game and give the Caps sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference.

"Games like this happen," Bruce Boudreau said. "The best defensive teams in the league, every now and then, will have a game where they stop doing it right. Three of the goals we put in our own net. {But} I thought we did a real good job of coming back."