BUFFALO, N.Y. — Mike Green snapped a third-period tie, Jose Theodore made 23 saves and the Washington Capitals upstaged Olympic hero Ryan Miller‘s return to Buffalo in a 3-1 victory over the slumping Sabres on Wednesday night.
Jason Chimera also scored, and Boyd Gordon added an empty-net goal for Washington. Hours after acquiring four players at the trade deadline, the NHL-leading Capitals (42-13-8) snapped a three-game losing streak in their first game following the Olympic break.
Miller made 37 saves in his first start since leading the United States to a silver medal and being selected the tournament MVP three days ago. He received a 45-second pregame standing ovation from the hometown fans, but was unable to help the Sabres shake out of their slumber.
Buffalo (33-20-9) fell to 1-6-2 in its last nine games, and has won just three times in regulation since Jan. 18, a span of 16 games.
Jochen Hecht scored for the Sabres, who remain one point behind Ottawa for the Northeast Division lead.
Green gave the Capitals a 2-1 lead midway through the third period when he one-timed a shot past Miller from the slot.
Chimera opened the scoring when he deflected Jeff Schultz’s shot from the right point with 4:37 left in the second period.
Hecht tied it a minute later when he picked up a loose puck from the right circle and snapped a shot past Theodore.
Lindy Ruff coached in his 964th career game with the Sabres, tying Jack Adams for third on the NHL list for most games coached with one franchise. … Sabres C Paul Gaustad missed his first game after sustaining an upper-body injury Tuesday against Pittsburgh. He is expected to be out at least a week. … Hecht’s goal gave him 400 career NHL points. … Washington had been shutout in two of its last three games in Buffalo coming in.