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Theodore helped that lead hold up, making several sparking stops in the game’s closing minutes, stopping good chances by Tim Kennedy and Drew Stafford.

“He makes the saves, and that’s what wins you the big games,” Washington coach Bruce Boudreau told AP of Theodore. “That’s what Miller does for them, and that’s what we got from Jose.”

The Sabres pulled the netminder with 1:40 left to try and get the equalizer, but the Caps kept the pressure on, and Boyd Gordon got a very long empty-net goal, shooting the puck from behind his own net, off the side boards, and into the empty net with :40.3 left in the contest.

The Capitals return home Thursday for their first game at Verizon Center in nearly a month to face the Lightning, as Washington closes in on its third straight Southeast Division title by opening up a five-game homestand. The Caps also are expected to have three of their new players available for that contest as well, with only Jurcina expected to miss the contest with what is reported to be a sports hernia.

Washington has not yet lost a home game in 2010, having last tasted defeat in Chinatown back on Dec. 28th, 2009 for an 11-game winning streak at home.

One Tampa Bay player that won’t be suiting up for the visitors is former Capitals captain Jeff Halpern, who was dealt to Los Angeles Wednesday.

But the Capitals got the last 20-game stretch of the regular season on the right note, and looking to boost their playoff standing as the season winds down into the final month.