WASHINGTON - Alex Ovechkin scored twice during a four-goal rally in the third period and the Washington Capitals beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-2 on Wednesday night to extend their winning streak to nine games and overtake the Dallas Stars for the NHL points lead.
Marcus Johansson put Washington ahead 8:32 into the final period, and Andre Burakovsky scored 1:24 later. Evgeny Kuznetsov had two assists during the third period. Justin Williams had the Capitals' other goal, in the second.
The Capitals improved to 28-6-2 and moved ahead of Dallas with 58 points.
Kuznetsov set up Ovechkin's tying goal 1:24 into the third with a perfect pass, then set up Johansson for a re-direct during a power play.
Ovechkin's last goal was an empty-netter.
Braden Holtby finished with 25 saves and improved to 16-0-1 in his last 17 games. He has not lost in regulation since Nov. 10.
Brian Gionta and Zemgus Girgensons scored for Buffalo.
This was the second part of a home-and-home series between the two teams. Washington won 2-0 in Buffalo on Monday night.
Gionta's first-period goal gave the Sabres an early lead, and goalie Chad Johnson helped Buffalo hold it until late in the second period despite heavy pressure from the Capitals.
Williams finally broke through with 5:52 left in the second. Johnson went behind his net to corral a loose puck and quickly tried to flip it away along the boards to teammate Zach Bogosian. Williams jumped in front, though, and picked it off. He quickly shot into the empty net to tie it.
The Sabres answered when Girgensons knocked in a loose puck from in front with 1:07 left in the period.
NOTES: D John Carlson missed his second straight game due to a lower-body injury after playing in 412 in a row. That was the second-longest run in Washington franchise history (behind Bob Carpenter's 422). ... RW Jay Beagle left with a second-period injury and did not return for Washington. ... Gionta's first-period goal ended an eight-game scoreless streak. ... Sabres assistant coach Terry Murray is a former Capitals player and head coach.