The Buffalo Sabres won just three times in their first 18 games this season. Suddenly, they’ve won three in a row for the first time in nearly nine months.

A 43-save night in goal from Jhonas Enroth and Torrey Mitchell’s tie-breaking goal with 7:42 left got the job done Saturday in Verizon Center as the Sabres surprised the Washington Capitals, 2-1.

Mitchell, apparently felled earlier in the third period when struck on the foot by a shoot-in from teammate Rasmus Ristolainen, came back and potted a Brian Gionta rebound to give Buffalo the victory.

Gionta worked the puck out of the corner, got stopped by Braden Holtby but slid it under the Washington goalie to Mitchell. He stuffed it into the empty net from the left of the crease for his third goal of the season.

“We’re doing the right things, playing the right way and it’s going our way now,” said Gionta. “’Mitchey’ poked that puck loose, I tried getting it by the goalie on the far side and it didn’t happen, but I was able to keep poking away and it went right to him.”

Buffalo had not won three straight since the last week of February. And, in fact, the Sabres have now won three in a row in regulation for the first time since March 23-27, 2012.

At 6-13-2, Buffalo remains tied for last in the NHL’s overall standing. But 5-6-2 in the last 13 games is clear progress after a 1-7 start.

“The first 10 games as any young team, you’re building,” said coach Ted Nolan. “You’re going to have your moments. Certainly, we did. The next 10 games we’ve gotten a lot better.”

The Sabres got outshot in this one, 44-26, but Enroth was as sharp as he’s been all season. Caps star Alex Ovechkin had eight shots on goal and 17 shot attempts but was kept scoreless, including one laser he cranked off the goalpost in the second period and another that Enroth stopped in the final minute with the Caps’ net empty.

Enroth was only beaten on Matt Niskanen’s power-play goal at 5:54 of the third period that got the Caps even at 1-1. He made 19 saves on 20 shots in relief of injured Michal Neuvirth to beat San Jose on Tuesday and snap his personal seven-game losing streak. Out on top of his crease and tracking the puck well through screens, Enroth seemed to carry that performance into this one.