Pominville added: “Just to get away from the rink and not have to think about hockey for a couple days hopefully will benefit us.”
The Sabres had the struggling Caps, losers of four of the last six, on their heels from the get-go.
“It obviously changed the game,” Ruff said. “You take advantage of an early power play, we seen where we haven’t and momentum can go the other way. I thought we did a nice job early on. We should’ve had more.”
The Sabres improved to just 8-9-3 at the FNC, the site of several collapses this season. When goals from Matt Hendricks and the enigmatic Alex Ovechkin got the Caps back in the game, the Sabres never flinched before the capacity crowd of 18,690 fans.
“We had to keep pushing,” Miller said. “That’s going to be a learning process. We haven’t had a lot of leads late. Learning how to protect by learning how to maintain a little bit of that aggressive nature is important.”
Ten Sabres made the score sheet, something they sorely needed with their scoring too top heavy.
“It was definitely something that got us jacked up,” Ellis said. “It was real well balanced tonight. Ten guys ended up on the score sheet. Nabber gets his first NHL goal, which gives you that excitement because everybody remembers what it was like to score that first one. Those are the things you need to build on.”
The 20-year-old McNabb, playing his 12th NHL game, scored from the slot, also the defenseman’s first point.
“It’s exciting,” said McNabb, who was sporting the gold “game MVP” helmet. “A lot of people don’t have a chance to play in the NHL, and to get a goal it’s pretty exciting. I’m just thrilled.”