The race for the East's final playoff spot turned in favor of Buffalo on Tuesday as the Sabres made a convincing statement with a 5-1 victory over the Washington Capitals.
Drew Stafford scored twice and Ryan Miller dominated the net with 44 saves to give Buffalo their biggest win of the season and put them in front of Washington (38-31-8) for the eighth and final spot with just five games remaining in the regular season.
The Sabres' (38-29-10) fifth straight win continued their dramatic comeback after having sat last in the conference two months ago.
Cody McCormick and Stafford scored for the visiting Sabres in the first period and Thomas Vanek put them ahead 3-0 early in the second.
Alexander Semin netted the lone Washington goal in the second but Jason Pominville responded quickly with another goal for Buffalo before Stafford fired in the final score midway through the third.
The Capitals, having won four consecutive Southeast Division titles, have lost three of their last four games.
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