Ryan Miller (ice hockey)

'Not a very good atmosphere' after another slow start leads to Caps loss

— The NHL's holiday break ended Monday when games resumed around the league, but apparently no one told the Washington Capitals.

Facing the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center after a two-day break, the Capitals looked uninspired, rarely sustained possession and didn't offer much response when challenged to win a battle for the puck in the opening 20 minutes.

Turns out the four-goal lead the Sabres accumulated in the first period would be all they needed to hand Washington a decisive, demoralizing 4-2 loss.

It was a defeat that highlighted what is becoming something of a chronic bad habit of sluggish starts for the Capitals, who have given up the first goal in...