Ryan Miller didn't want to take all the credit for shutting down Alex Ovechkin and the high-octane Washington Capitals.
Miller made 35 saves for his 16th career shutout, Nathan Gerbe scored his first NHL goal, and Buffalo halted visiting Washington's six-game winning streak with a 3-0 victory over the league-leading Capitals last night.
Ovechkin, the league's second-highest goal scorer with 20, was held without a point for only the fifth time in his 23 games. The Capitals (19-6-6) were shut out for the first time this season - and the first time since a 3-0 loss to Columbus exactly 11 months earlier.
"It took everybody to put an emphasis on getting back," Miller said. "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, owner of the NHL's lowest goals-against average, certainly did his part to make it tough on a Caps offense that came in with a league-high 108 goals. He stopped 13 shots in the third period.
He 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. Miller then snagged Nicklas Backstrom's shot from in tight 4 minutes later.
Morrison hit the post with 4:45 to go.
"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."
Gerbe added an assist, and defenseman Henrik Tallinder also scored for the Sabres, who snapped a two-game losing skid.
"We all knew what was at stake," Miller said. "You can't lose three in a row and call yourself a top team. You have to keep pace with the big teams, and we got back on our feet."
Washington took its first regulation loss in nine games.
"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."
In other games:
* At Denver, Antti Miettinen scored early in the first period and Niklas Backstrom made it stand up as the Minnesota Wild beat the Colorado Avalanche, 1-0.
* At Calgary, Nigel Dawes and Olli Jokinen scored second-period goals and the Flames beat Atlanta, 3-1.
* At Chicago, Dustin Byfuglien skated down the left side past defenseman Matt Gilroy and beat Henrik Lundqvist with 1:17 left in overtime, giving the Blackhawks a 2-1 win over the Rangers.
* At Newark, N.J., Andy Greene scored consecutive goals, the first two-goal game of the defenseman's career, and the surging Devils beat Carolina, 4-2.
* At Columbus, Jason Chimera scored for the third straight game and Steve Mason stopped 32 shots for his first shutout of the season to lead the Blue Jackets past the Florida Panthers, 3-0.
* At Toronto, Jason Blake knocked home a bouncing puck with less than 5 minutes remaining against his former team, and the Maple Leafs held on for a 3-2 victory over the Islanders.
* At Detroit, Brad Boyes scored early and Ty Conklin made 42 saves and held on late for a shutout, leading the St. Louis Blues to a 1-0 win over the Red Wings.
* At Tampa, Zack Stortini scored his third goal of the season and had two fights as the Edmonton Oilers beat the Lightning, 3-2.