On January 19, 1977, Washington beat the Buffalo Sabres by a 4-2 score in Buffalo. It was the Capitals’ only win on Buffalo ice in the team’s first 11 seasons of existence.
Longtime Capital nemesis Richard Martin of the renowned French Connection line put the Sabres on the board first at 6:21 of the opening period. Martin’s goal came on a 5-on-3 power play while Washington’s Gord Lane and Gord Smith were cooling off in the penalty box. Blair Stewart tied the game for the Caps and then Gerry Meehan’s power play goal against his former team gave Washington a 2-1 advantage. Bill Riley picked up the primary assists on both Washington tallies.
Late in the second period Riley and Yvon Labre set up a Bob Sirois goal to give the Caps a 3-1 lead. Sirois added a power play goal at 7:42 of the third period to push the margin to three goals.
The Sabres stormed the Capitals zone throughout much of the third period, unleashing 14 shots on goal. Caps netminder Ron Low held firm, allowing only one puck to get past him. Buffalo defenseman Jim Schoenfeld—who would later become head coach of both the Sabres and the Capitals—scored on a power play with 7:26 remaining. Despite outshooting the Caps 34-19, Buffalo fell to the Caps.
The win gave Washington 33 points on the season, setting a new franchise mark. The Caps gave up their first power play goals in 33 opportunities and 11 games, a record that stood until earlier this season.
The Caps would not win in Buffalo again until October 18, 1985.
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