Washington The Sabres were happy that the Capitals proved to be generous hosts.
Maxim Afinogenov and Slava Kozlov scored early goals for Buffalo as the Sabres took advantage of defensive breakdowns for a 5-2 victory over Washington on Wednesday night.
The Capitals have been struggling on defense in recent games, missing key players like Calle Johansson, and Buffalo wanted to pressure Washington into making mistakes.
"You look at their defense and they're missing some very good players," Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said. "If you don't take advantage of that, you're kicking yourself."
The Sabres forced several Washington mistakes as their quickness proved too much for the Capitals in the early minutes. Buffalo took seven of the game's first nine shots and spent much of the first period in the Washington zone.
"Their speed overwhelmed our defense early on in the game," Washington coach Ron Wilson said. "We allowed them to get in alone on (goalie Olaf) Kolzig. We have to find a way to correct that."
Afinogenov and Kozlov gave Buffalo a 2-0 lead in the game's first six minutes, catching Washington defenseman Joe Reekie out of position twice.
The Capitals rallied after that, twice cutting the Buffalo lead to one but the Sabres' fast start proved too much to overcome.
"If they're playing a little sluggish, you've got to try to put them down right away," Buffalo goalie Martin Biron said. "We haven't been playing well on the road lately, so the first period tonight was a big, important key. Everybody talked about it we needed that tempo."
Another mistake hurt the Capitals in the second period when Miroslav Satan scored a short-handed goal after intercepting a Peter Bondra pass in the Washington zone.
Blackhawks 3, Canucks 3
Chicago Rookie Mike Peluso scored at 7:18 of the third period to lift Chicago to a tie with the Vancouver. Steve Poapst and Tony Amonte also scored to help Chicago improve to 9-0-3 at home. Yet the tie also stretched the Blackhawks' overall winless streak to seven games (0-3-4). Chicago has not won since beating San Jose 3-2 in overtime on Nov. 11 at the United Center.
Oilers 2, Mighty Ducks 0
Anaheim, Calif. Jussi Markkanen stopped 27 shots to earn a shutout in his NHL debut, and Georges Laraque and Shawn Horcoff scored for Edmonton as the Oilers beat Anaheim. The Oilers' defense made Markkanen's job relatively easy, as the Ducks got off few quality shots at the Edmonton goaltender.