WASHINGTON -- The Washington Capitals used a three-goal flurry in the second period to take a big lead, then needed a late goal by Mathieu Perreault to put away the Buffalo Sabres with a 5-3 win at the Verizon Center Sunday night.
Alex Ovechkin, Troy Brouwer, Jason Chimera and Marcus Johansson also scored for the Capitals, who improved to 12-15-1 and moved one point ahead of the Sabres in the Eastern Conference standings.
The Capitals are now six points behind the eighth-place Carolina Hurricanes and seven behind the Southeast Division-leading Winnipeg Jets, whom they face in back-to-back games later this week in Winnipeg.
The Sabres lost for the sixth time in seven games.
After losing for the fourth time in five games the day before in Boston, the Capitals didn't waste any time getting the home crowd on their side.
Center Nicklas Backstrom won a faceoff back to Alex Ovechkin who smoked a wrist shot past Ryan Miller for his 11th goal of the season just 19 seconds into the game. It was the fastest goal to start a game for the Capitals this season and gave Ovechkin the team lead in goals.
The Sabres answered just 12 seconds into the second period when Cody Hodgson threaded his 11th goal of the season through the legs of rookie defenseman Steve Oleksy and goaltender Braden Holtby.
That's when the Capitals turned their desperation into goal scoring.
With Steve Ott in the box for holding, Brouwer gave the Caps a 2-1 lead at the 5:06 mark with his 10th of the season and fifth on the power play.
Brouwer parked himself in the high slot and took a nice feed from Mike Ribeiro, who picked up his 20th assist of the season.
The power play goal was the 23rd of the season for the Caps, who entered the game ranked third in the NHL with a 24.4 percent efficiency.
Jason Chimera made it 3-1 at the 9:45 mark when he scored his first goal of the season and ended the longest goal drought of his career at 27 games.
Chimera, who scored a career-high 20 goals last season, cruised into the slot and fired a pass from Brouwer into the left side of the net, kicking off a huge celebration on the Capitals bench.
Just 43 seconds later the cheering continued when Marcus Johansson scored his third goal of the season on a scramble in front of Miller, who was lying on his stomach outside of the crease when Johansson jammed it into the net.
The Sabres climbed back into the game at the 13:27 mark when Brian Flynn took a pass from Mike Foligno and beat Holtby, who was looking the other way for the loose puck.
And when Chimera took a slashing minor against Tyler Myers the Sabres made it a one-goal game with 14:30 to play on Hodgson's second goal of the game and 12th of the season. Tyler Ennis banked a shot off Holtby's right pad and onto the stick of Hodgson.
NOTES: Both teams were playing in the second half of back-to-back games. The Sabres were coming off a home 4-3 overtime loss to the Ottawa Senators, while the Capitals were trying to rebound from a 4-1 loss to the Bruins in Boston. The Capitals begin a four-game road trip Tuesday night in Pittsburgh. Seven of their next eight games are on the road, where they are 4-8-1 this season. The Sabres conclude their two-game road trip in Montreal on Tuesday night. They are in the midst of playing four of five on the road. ... The Capitals were without forwards Brooks Laich (groin) and Mike Green (groin) but both are expected to return to the lineup during the club's four-game road trip. Forwards Wojtek Wolski and Aaron Volpatti were healthy scratches for the Capitals. ... The Sabres entered the game 0-6-0 when trailing after the first period. Three of the players on the ice Sunday night share the same birthday of Oct. 6 -- Buffalo forwards Ville Leino and Tyler Ennis and Washington forward Marcus Johansson.