The Washington Times - January 27, 2013, 07:18PM

A handful of teams around the NHL salute their fans with sticks in the air after games. For the Washington Capitals it’s an almost never seen occurrence at Verizon Center.

But it happened Sunday afternoon after the Caps beat the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 for their first victory of the season.

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“I think it was just a team thing,” defenseman John Erskine said. “I think the fans kind of hung in there and were loyal to us during the tough time there and it was just kind of our way of saying thank you to them.”

Erskine said captain Alex Ovechkin and a couple of other guys took the lead on the idea.

“I think everybody was on board,” Erskine said. “We just wanted to thank the fans.”

Center Mike Ribeiro was a little taken aback. He had never been part of a home win at Verizon Center.

“I thought it was only the Rangers. Usually I just get off the ice,” Ribeiro said. “My work is done.”

The Caps worked hard to get the victory, with Ovechkin leading the way. They knew they needed him to perform.

“We finally win,” Ovechkin said. “So it’s much, much better for us right now. No pressure to our shoulders right now.”