In a battle between the NHL's hottest goaltender and its biggest gunner, score one for the goalie.
The Caps came into the game with an NHL-high 108 goals but couldn't solve Miller, who has the League's best goals-against average (1.82) and save percentage (.938).
Like any good goaltender, Miller was quick to share the credit.
"It took everybody to put an emphasis on getting back," he said after posting his 16th career shutout. "We picked up sticks a lot, and Ovechkin had to really go to the outside a lot. He likes to create and make space for himself, but he had somebody right down his back. That makes it frustrating, and it makes it tough."
Miller preserved his fourth shutout of the season when he robbed Brendan Morrison, who was staring at a wide-open net, with a diving glove save along the ice with 13 minutes left. He then snagged Nicklas Backstrom's close-in shot four minutes later.
"Those were two jaw-dropping saves," said defenseman Steve Montador, who scored a first-period goal. "There were stretches in the third where we probably could have done a better job, but at that time of the game we had dominated and done a good job of limiting their top line."
Morrison hit the post with 4:45 to go, and Miller stopped 13 shots in the third period.
The Capitals (19-6-6) were shut out for the first time this season -- they hadn't been blanked since a 3-0 loss to Columbus exactly 11 months earlier -- and lost in regulation for the first time in nine games.
"They played a very disciplined game," Morrison said. "We kept trying to beat guys at the blue line, but they basically put up a wall there and we were turning pucks over."
Ovechkin, who led the NHL goals in each of the last two seasons and is second this season with 20, was held without a point for only the fifth time in the 23 games he's played.
"They just played solidly defensively," Ovechkin said. "But I think we didn't play our game at all. We didn't get the puck in deep, and we didn't control the offensive blue line. I had a couple of chances, especially in the first period, but I just missed the puck and missed the net. It happens."
Montador opened the scoring with his second of the season 4:06 into the first period, skipping a shot from the right point past Jose Theodore, who was screened by Gerbe.
Rookie Nathan Gerbe made it 2-0 with 5:18 left in the second when he banked a shot off Theodore's pads and into the net while standing to the left of the post behind the goal line for his first NHL goal.
Henrik Tallinder added some insurance with his second of the season 3:16 later, banging in his own rebound after Theodore stopped his wrister from the high slot.
"Our guys did a heck of a job playing the highest scoring team in the league," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "We took a lot of ice away from (their) key personnel. There was a lot to like with the way we defended."
Material from wire services and team media was used in this report
|Steve Montador (2) ASST: Derek Roy (16), Nathan Gerbe (1)|
1 - 0 BUF
|PPG - Nathan Gerbe (1) ASST: Derek Roy (17), Drew Stafford (6)|
2 - 0 BUF
|Henrik Tallinder (2) ASST: Jason Pominville (13)|
3 - 0 BUF
|Tim Kennedy Hooking against Nicklas Backstrom|
|Tyler Sloan Cross checking against Drew Stafford|
|Tom Poti Cross checking against Tim Kennedy|
|Mike Green Hi-sticking against Derek Roy|
|Derek Roy Tripping against Alex Ovechkin|
|Alex Ovechkin Diving against Derek Roy|