The Buffalo Sabres were down to three defenseman, two in the dressing room injured and another in the penalty box. The Washington Capitals were on a power play looking to pull within a goal after trailing, 3-0, early in the second period. The Verizon Center crowd was roaring.

Then came a play that might be the defining moment of these teams' battle for the final playoff spot in the East.

The puck rolled softly to the Buffalo blue line and Alex Ovechkin played it nonchalantly at the left point. Jason Pominvile outworked Ovechkin on the boards and took off, with his opposing captain hardly getting back with any force.

Pominville beat Michal Neuvirth between the legs for a short-handed goal that gave the Sabres a 4-1 lead. They never looked back in a 5-1 win.