NEWARK, N.J. -- It took more than 34 minutes to snap a scoreless tie but the Buffalo Sabres did just enough here Tuesday night to fashion their second three-game winning streak of the season.
Goals by Ryan O'Reilly and Johan Larsson were just enough to give the Sabres a lead and then held on for 3-1 win over the New Jersey Devils in Prudential Center.
The Sabres improved to 34-35-11 with a sweep of their two-game trip to the New York metro area. They had not won three straight since beating Vancouver, Tampa Bay and Florida in early November.
O'Reilly scored a power-play goal at 14:12 of the second period and Larsson gave Buffalo breathing room by taking advantage of a turnover to score 12 seconds into the third.
Jack Eichel scored a brilliant unassisted goal into the empty net with 47.4 seconds left, outmuscling three Devils for the puck in the New Jersey zone and shoving it slowly into the cage
In the net: Chad Johnson came within 5:29 of a shutout, as he was beaten on a power play by Jacob Josefson to get New Jersey close. It was his ninth straight start. Saturday's win over the New York Rangers marked Johnson's 100th career NHL game.
First-period blues: There were virtually no scoring chances in a scoreless opening 20 minutes and both teams had just five shots on goal. Three of Buffalo's five were by defensemen.
Power play breaks the ice: Ryan O'Reilly won a faceoff and got the ultimate reward on Buffalo's first goal. Cal O'Reilly got the puck from the draw and fed Rasmus Ristolainen on the right point. He fed Eichel to his left and Eichel went back to the right on a diagonal to O'Reilly, who beat Cory Schneider just under the crossbar.
Double digits: Larsson hit 10 goals for the first time in his NHL career, beating Schneider after just 12 seconds of the third period, capitalizing on a John Moore turnover. He let go a quick snapshot from the right circle and the puck fooled Schneider because Adam Henrique hit Larsson's stick just as the Bu361ffalo center shot the puck.
Third-pair blues: Defenseman Mark Pysyk and Casey Nelson were both hit with two minor penalties in the game but the Sabres killed off all four situations. Until the Josefson goal, the Buffalo penalty killers were 13 for 13 in the last four games and 25 for 26 in the last nine.
Double century: Winger Zemgus Girgensons played his 200th career game since the Sabres drafted him with their second pick of the first round in 2012.
Big cheers: There wasn't much for the friends-and-family gathering to cheer about, but they let out a roar in the first period when New Jersey veteran Patrik Elias touched the puck for the first time. The 40-year-old Elias, New Jersey's all-time scoring leader, was making his return after he had been sidelined since mid-December with knee surgery.
From the press box: Tuesday's game was the final one covering the Devils for longtime Bergen Record beat writer Tom Gulitti, who is moving to Washington next week to work for NHL.com. In a tremendous show of respect by the New Jersey players, they briefly stopped their morning workout and skated to the glass with sticks raised in the air in a salute to Gulitti, who was in the stands watching the workout as normal.
During the game, the Devils' PR staff presented Gulitti with a commemorative cake and team jersey. And Hobby's Deli, a longtime Newark institution located a couple of blocks behind the arena, named one of its turkey sandwich specials on the day "the Tom Gulitti."
Up Next: The Sabres return to practice Wednesday in First Niagara Center to prep for Friday's Fan Appreciation Night visit by Columbus, the Blue Jackets' first trip to Buffalo under coacah John Tortorella. When the Sabres beat the Jackets, 4-2, on Oct. 12, they were still being coached by Todd Richards. He was fired Oct. 22 with the team 0-7.