Check off one goal for Capitals: Better special teams

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Cheers and Jeers,Sports,NHL,Capitals,Brian McNally

Early on in this NHL season, goals are difficult to come by at even strength. But with such a premium on special teams, the Capitals entered Sunday's game against Buffalo riding a disastrous streak.

Whether a man up or a man or two down, nothing had gone right for Washington. It was a woeful 3-for-20 on the power play and had killed just 16 of 24 penalties. There was no bigger reason for the team's 0-3-1 start. That finally changed Sunday in a 3-2 win over the Sabres. The Caps received a power-play goal by Alex Ovechkin, took just two penalties and killed both of them.

One major reason? Sometimes it is as simple as winning battles on the power play. Ovechkin's one-timer looked simple after a pass from teammate Mike Green. But it was set up when Washington retrieved a loose puck and quickly got it back down low to center Mike Ribeiro, who assisted on the Ovechkin goal.

"I think we moved the puck better today. We moved our feet better. I think we won more battles on the power play," Ribeiro said.

- Brian McNally

bmcnally@washingtonexaminer.com

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