After being blanked 5-0 by the Sabres in their last visit to Buffalo, the Washington Capitals struck quickly against Sabres goalie Ryan Miller.
Derek Roy was called for tripping 46 seconds into the first period, and Brooks Laich scored his 11th goal of the season on the ensuing power play at the 1:57 mark.
Chris Bourque, a recent recall from AHL Hershey and son of Hall-of-Famer Ray Bourque, tallied his first NHL goal at the 9:02 mark of the first period to give the Caps a 2-0 lead.
The goal was assisted by his former Hershey Bears line mates, Eric Fehr and Dave Steckel.
Jose Theodore, in his fourth straight start, looked good early, stopping all 17 shots he faced in the first two periods, including a break-away by Jason Pominville.
Early in the second period, Clarke MacArthur clanged one off the post.
The Caps were held to just two shots in the first 11 minutes of the second period.
After a tripping call on Andrej Sekera, the Capitals took five shots in the first 38 seconds of the power play.
Mike Green missed on his shot during the power play, but Nicklas Backstrom scored—his 11th of the season—on the rebound to increase the lead to 3-0.
The Capitals penalty-kill stepped up in a big way, limiting the Sabres to three shots on their first four power plays.
Adam Mair clanked one off the post and past Theodore on a nice backhand shot for his fifth of the season at the 7:41 mark of the third period.
The goal gave the Sabres a glimpse of hope, cutting the lead to 3-1.
Boyd Gordon added an empty-net, short-handed goal from 150 feet away to seal the game with 43 seconds left in the game.
The Sabres would score with 11 seconds left, on a power-play goal by Clarke MacArthur, for a final score of 4-2, ruining a perfect night for the Caps penalty-kill.
No Capitals team has ever started the season with four straight winning months. They could achieve that with a winning record in January.
Brooks Laich's goal tonight gave him six in his last nine games.
Jose Theodore stopped 31 of 33 shots on the night to secure his 13th win of the season, while limiting the rebounds.
Theodore has allowed only five goals in his last nine periods, after allowing eight in the previous four periods.
Alex Ovechkin's grandfather passed away over the weekend. My thoughts go out to Ovie and his family.