Alex Ovechkin scored his first goal of the season and it proved to be the game-winner as Washington finally got into the win column with a 3-2 victory over Buffalo on Sunday.
Joel Ward had a goal and an assist, while John Erskine also lit the lamp for the Capitals, who got their first win of the season in five games and the first win for head coach Adam Oates. Michal Neuvirth turned aside 22 shots.
Washington avoided losing five games to start the season for the first time since going 0-6-0 to begin the 1993-94 campaign.
"Today I thought we played a pretty complete game," Capitals forward Jason Chimera said. "Neuvy (Neuvirth) played really well for us; he made some big saves for us. The power play got us one, which is huge; Ovi (Ovechkin) got one, which is huge for us."
Tyler Ennis and Marcus Foligno each lit the lamp for the Sabres, who have dropped three straight after opening the campaign with two wins. Ryan Miller gave up all three goals on 30 shots in the loss.
Buffalo leading scorer Thomas Vanek sat out the game with a muscle strain that caused him to leave Friday's loss to Carolina.
"We made a few adjustments tonight to our game, and compliment that with play- making and goal-scoring that we saw early on and maybe we'd have a few more (goals)," Miller said. "I'm not going to say we had a great game but I saw some things that we did a lot better."
In the third period on the power play, Washington gave itself a two-goal lead when Mike Green sent a pass from the high slot to the left circle where Ovechkin one-timed it in for a 3-1 lead at the 5:11 mark of the frame.
The goal proved fortunate as Buffalo cut its deficit to one halfway through the third. Patrick Kaleta's wrist shot from the right point was stopped, but the rebound came to the left and Foligno swept it in.
Buffalo, though, was unable to net the equalizer despite pulling Miller for an extra attacker with a little over a minute left in the game.
The Sabres took a 1-0 lead on a nice play in the first. Drew Stafford stripped a Cap of the puck in the neutral zone and took it in down the middle. He sent a pass over to the left for Steve Ott, who then sent it back to the slot where a trailing Ennis shot it home 9:34 into the first.
Washington tied the game with 3:58 to play in the first as a hard angle shot from the right side by Chimera saw the rebound come out front and Ward sweep it in.
The Caps then took a 2-1 lead at the 3:18 mark of the second period as a wrist shot by Erskine at the left point hit off a Sabre and sailed by Miller.
Ovechkin had just one assist through the first four games of the season coming into Sunday's contest ... The Sabres took three of four from the Caps last season.