It was fun while it lasted.
The Buffalo Sabres' three-game winning streak, which featured an entertaining brand of goal-scoring, puck-stopping hockey on the road, came to a quick end at home. The New Jersey Devils kept Buffalo quiet for nearly 55 minutes and left KeyBank Center with a 3-1 victory.
Buffalo scored late to make it close, but the Devils' Kyle Palmieri ended the suspense with an empty-net goal with 5.9 seconds left.
The Sabres haven't won four games in a row since December 2014.
Turn on the power: The Sabres cut their deficit to 2-1 with 5:02 left thanks to their red-hot power play. Ryan O'Reilly sent his faceoff win to Jake McCabe, and the defenseman's low shot slid past goaltender Keith Kincaid.
McCabe's goal was his third of the season and ended a drought of nine games without a point. O'Reilly has nine points in the last nine games.
The Sabres have at least one power-play goal in seven of their last nine games.
Stop the power: Buffalo earned another power play with 2:45 to go when Devils rookie Nico Hischier cross-checked McCabe from behind. It turned into a six-on-four when goaltender Robin Lehner went to the bench for an extra attacker with 1:36 to play.
Kincaid made a big pad save on O'Reilly's net-front backhand with 1:30 remaining.
No knock on Wood: Buffalo-born Miles Wood, the son of former Sabres forward Randy Wood, used his speed to open the scoring and end a pair of shutout streaks by Buffalo.
A pass by New Jersey defenseman Will Butcher hit Wood in stride near the Buffalo blue line, and the forward blew past defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen. Wood then cut to the Buffalo net and deposited a backhand past goaltender Robin Lehner with 5:49 gone in the second.
All-Star shot: Taylor Hall's return to the lineup paid off. The forward, who missed the All-Star Game and the previous three Devils games with a hand injury, made it 2-0 with 14:29 to play.
The winger was a late addition to a New Jersey rush, streaked in alone on the left side and ripped a shot home off the glove of Lehner. Hall leads the Devils with 18 goals.
The End, Part I: Lehner's personal-best shutout streak ended at 145 minutes, 15 seconds with Wood's goal. Lehner passed his previous best of 119:26 during the first period.
The End, Part II: Wood's goal was the first against the Sabres in 199:19. It was the second-longest streak in franchise history. Buffalo had a shutout run of 226:24 in January 2003.
Scoreless first: Kinkaid made 11 saves and Lehner countered with nine as the teams skated into the opening intermission in a 0-0 tie. Five of the Sabres' shots came on two power plays.
Quiet second: The Sabres took seven shots during the middle period while hardly testing Kinkaid. New Jersey had 10 shots to take a 19-18 advantage after 40 minutes.
Fortunate result: The crowd gasped and cringed with 7:42 gone as the Devils' Taylor Hall boarded Kyle Okposo. After getting shoved from behind, the Sabres right winger hit the boards with a thud. He hopped up, stretched his neck and back, then stayed on the ice for the two-minute power play.
No changes: The Sabres stuck with the same lineup that won in Vancouver. Jordan Nolan was the healthy scratch at forward, while Jacob Josefson missed his seventh game with a lower-body injury. Defenseman Nathan Beaulieu missed his third straight after suffering a possible concussion in Calgary, while Josh Gorges sat for the fourth game in a row.
Saying thanks, goodbye: The Sabres played a tribute video and held a moment of silence for late USA Hockey executive Jim Johannson, who died at age 53 on Jan. 21. The video included comments from General Manager Jason Botterill, coach Phil Housley and players Jack Eichel, Jake McCabe and Okposo.
Our pregame tribute for Jim Johannson. pic.twitter.com/eq18uU8FmX
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) January 31, 2018
Homecoming: Linesman James Tobias, a graduate of West Seneca West and Canisius College, worked the game.
— Harry Scull Jr (@hsjrphoto) January 31, 2018
Next: The Sabres play the second game of their five-game homestand Thursday when they host the Florida Panthers. The St. Louis Blues come to town Saturday, following by Anaheim on Tuesday and the New York Islanders on Feb. 8.