5 Observations: Sabres top Capitals 3-1

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - For the first time this season, the Buffalo Sabres won a game that was tied heading into the third period, knocking off the Washington Capitals 3-1. Evander Kane [twice] and Benoit Pouliot scored for the Sabres, who improve to 5-8-2. 

5 Observations from Tuesday's win: 

A game they needed

It has been a busy week for the Capitals, who have now played four games in six days. Every team deals with short rest throughout the season but the Sabres needed to take advantage of the mismatch they had with a tired Capitals team. 

Buffalo jumped out of the gate fast with their most shots in a first period this season [15], along with the fewest shots they've allowed during a period [4]. 

Baptiste makes his debut 

For the first time this season we saw Nick Baptiste in the Sabres lineup after he was recalled from Rochester last week. The 22-year-old forward lined up at left-wing on a line with Sam Reinhart and Seth Griffith. 

All things considered, I thought Baptiste played pretty well, generating a few chances throughout the evening. His biggest attribute is his speed, which was on display against the Capitals as Baptiste blazed down the wing on several occasions. 

Consistency and lack of production were Baptiste's biggest issues in his 14 games last season. Although he didn't get on the score sheet, Tuesday was a good start for Baptiste. 

Fight!!!!

In the second period Capitals forward Tom Wilson plastered Sam Reinhart into the boards with a hit in the Sabres' zone. Almost immediately after the hit while Reinhart remained on the ice, Jake McCabe went after Wilson, as the two dropped the gloves. 

After a few punches, Wilson dragged McCabe down to the ice, as KeyBank Center erupted. Fans weren't clapping because of a decisive win, their applause was a thank you to McCabe for stepping up for his teammate. These are the kind of plays that earn respect and go a long way in the locker room. That was evident after the game when both Jack Eichel and Kane gave McCabe a shoutout. 

Pitiful power play 

Despite four cracks at it, the Sabres failed to convert on any of their power play attempts against the Capitals and have now only capitalized [pun intended] on one of their previous 25 attempts. This tweet puts into perspective how atrocious the power play has been this season. 

Buffalo needs to figure something out if they want to start to turn things around. For a team that fails to score a lot of even-strength goals, they'll need the power play to at the very least be average from here on out. 

Pouliot makes a mad dash down the ice 

Benoit Pouliot has become one of the Sabres most productive players, especially since he scored his first goal against the Boston Bruins on October 21. In Buffalo's last seven games Pouliot has five goals, good for the third most on the team this season. For as much praise as the Kane-Eichel-O'Reilly line has received, Pouliot's line with Ryan O'Reilly and Kyle Okposo has had an impressive stretch. Fun fact, the Sabres are undefeated when Pouliot has scored this season. 

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