BUFFALO -- Evander Kane scored two goals, and Robin Lehner made 24 saves to help the Buffalo Sabres to a 3-1 win against the Washington Capitals at KeyBank Center on Tuesday.
Benoit Pouliot scored the game-winning goal at 3:22 of the third period. He skated end to end and shot through Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik's legs to beat goalie Philipp Grubauer high to the glove side for a 2-1 lead.
[WATCH: All Capitals vs. Sabres highlights]
"I had speed because I picked up the puck pretty low in our zone," Pouliot said. "I kind of backed [Orpik] up a little bit and I don't know. I don't really know. I just tried to cut to the middle. At first I wanted to kind of toe-drag it and go wide on him, but I ended up shooting the puck between his legs, which ended up good. So that's good."
Kane scored an empty-net goal with 20 seconds left to make it 3-1.
Kane gave Buffalo a 1-0 lead at 2:39 of the second period. Jack Eichel passed from behind the net to Kane below the right face-off circle for a shot that beat Grubauer to the short side.
"We kind of have some face-off plays that our line likes to draw up, and we were able to execute there," Kane said. "[Eichel] makes a nice individual play to be able to push the puck through and win that battle. I just tried to find a lane for him to get me that puck and put it away."
Video: WSH@BUF: Lehner denies Vrana on rush
The Sabres (5-8-2) have won two of their past three games. The Capitals (8-7-1) lost for the first time in four games and are 0-4-0 in the second of back-to-back games this season; they defeated the Arizona Coyotes 3-2 in overtime Monday.
"We had the start that we wanted," Buffalo coach Phil Housley said. "I thought we came out with authority. … We didn't get anything for it (in the first period), which is important for them to realize that you just stay the course."
Alex Ovechkin tied it 1-1 at 17:44 of the second period. He received a pass from Devante Smith-Pelly and took a wrist shot from the right hash marks that beat Lehner for his 13th goal, second in the NHL behind Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov (14). Ovechkin has scored a goal in three straight games.
Video: WSH@BUF: Ovechkin wires wrister past Lehner
Grubauer made 29 saves. He is 0-4-1 this season, including a loss in the second game of each of Washington's back-to-back sets.
"We all feel terrible for [Grubauer]," Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom said. "He's been playing awesome in the games he's been in. We wanted to give him a win, but unfortunately that wasn't tonight. But we will give him one because he deserves it, he deserves better."
Buffalo was 0-for-4 on the power play. Washington went 0-for-1.
Goal of the game
Kane's first goal at 2:39 of the second period.
Video: WSH@BUF: Kane buries Eichel's behind-the-net pass
Save of the game
Lehner's pad-stack stop against Smith-Pelly at 12:57 of the second period.
Video: WSH@BUF: Lehner gets across to stone Smith-Pelly
Highlight of the game
Pouliot's goal at 3:22 of the third period.
Video: WSH@BUF: Pouliot goes end-to-end to beat Grubauer
They said it
"It kind of took them scoring on us to kind of wake us up a little bit. You can't have that in a back-to-back. Sometimes it's tough, you get in late last night, you're kind of tired, and you get out there and you've got to make sure you're going off the get-go or you can get behind. We didn't come out with enough urgency." -- Capitals forward Tom Wilson
"I think tonight's a good start to have that type of attitude, but you've got to have it every night and it has to kind of be a bit of a lifestyle in terms of your approach to hockey and to NHL hockey and to wanting to win. Like I said, it was a good start, we've got to carry that into Friday and play with that same attitude if not more." -- Sabres forward Evander Kane
Need to know
Capitals defenseman Madison Bowey was a late scratch because of a lower-body injury sustained against the Coyotes. Aaron Ness replaced him in the lineup. ... Three of Pouliot's five goals this season have been game-winners. ... Lehner is 2-1-1 with a .957 save percentage at home this season.
Capitals: Host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, TVA Sports, NBCSWA, ATTSN-PT, NHL.TV)
Sabres: Host the Florida Panthers on Friday (7 p.m. ET; MSG-B, FS-F, NHL.TV)
Video: Kane, Lehner lead Sabres past Caps, 3-1