Everything was going great for the Buffalo Sabres, until it wasn't.
After two strong periods and a 2-1 lead, the Sabres found out why the Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL. The Caps dominated the third period, scoring four goals on 15 shots to win their second game in a row against Buffalo, this time by a score of 5-2.
Things started well for the Sabres, mostly thanks to the line of Eichel, Gionta, and Girgensons, who were the only line all night to make noise against the Capitals. They opened the scoring in the first period thanks to two phenomenal passes from Girgensons to Eichel to Gionta, who tapped in an easy goal for his fourth of the year. The line would score again on another beautiful Eichel play, who flung the puck toward the net from his knees, which would ultimately result in a goal from Zemgus Girgensons, who scored his first point(s) tonight in 11 games.
In between the first two Sabres goals, however, was the beginning of their undoing. Chad Johnson played a great game through the first 30 minutes, stopping a few glorious Caps chances and keeping the Sabres in the game. But after making a few great saves, disaster struck. Johnson fumbled the puck behind the net and gave it away to Justin Williams, who scored the easiest goal of his life to open the scoring for Washington. After that miscue, Johnson didn't make any more disastrous plays, but also never regained his form from the first half of the game.
The Sabres took a 2-1 lead into the third, but played one of their worst periods of the season to close out this home and home. Washington scored 90 seconds in and never looked back, scoring four in the third and showing the Sabres why they're the best team in the league. Buffalo looked more like the 2013 version of themselves than the new and improved version. You remember - the team that couldn't complete a pass to save their lives, the team that never had possession, the team that was generally the most inept in the history of hockey.
But, they did play the best team ever (this season) and are still growing. One more game to go until 2016.