NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Jack Eichel got his 24th goal and Ryan O’Reilly got his 21st to help the Buffalo Sabres beat the New Jersey Devils 3-1 on Tuesday night.
Johan Larsson also scored and Chad Johnson made 18 saves for the Sabres.
Both teams have been eliminated from playoff contention. The Sabres have been near the bottom of the Eastern Conference most of the season, and the Devils were eliminated on Saturday.
The Sabres are closing out strong, though. The win was their third straight, and they are 7-2-2 in their last 11 games.
The Devils have dropped three games in a row, dropping to 1-4-1 in the last six.
Cory Schneider made 15 stops for the Devils. Jacob Josefson scored late in the third period.
The Sabres’ fabulous rookies combined to break a scoreless deadlock on a power-play score with 5:48 remaining in the second period. Eichel fed the puck to O’Reilly, who unleashed a bullet blast from the right dot past Schneider’s glove into the top corner.
Larsson upped the lead to 2-0 12 seconds into the third period on a wrist shot from the right circle.
The remaining suspense centered on Johnson’s bid for a fifth career shutout. He made a sharp pad save on Josefson 8 minutes in, but Josefson buried his next chance, one-timing in a feed from Tyler Kennedy with 5:29 remaining.
Eichel added an empty-net goal.
Chances were few in the scoreless first period, with each team mustering only five shots.
Hudson Fasching had one of the better opportunities, a blast from the left circle knocked aside by Schneider.
Devils left wing Patrik Elias returned, seeing action for the first time since Dec. 19 following right knee surgery.
Elias is New Jersey’s career leader in goals (407), assists (615) and points (1,022), having spent his entire 17-year career with the team.
This has been a lost season in what might be his final one as a Devil. Elias missed the first 20 games after hurting the knee in training camp. He played 13 games before undergoing surgery in January.
Elias, 39, can become an unrestricted free agent in July. He got a cheer from the fans on his first shift.