Jack Eichel helped the Buffalo Sabres make the most of their few opportunities Tuesday night against the New York Islanders in KeyBank Center.
Eichel assisted on two Sabres goals, and Linus Ullmark made 24 saves in a 3-1 win over one of the NHL's hottest teams. Buffalo, now 28-21-7, improved to 3-2-1 on the seven-game homestand and moved within two points of the second wild-card playoff spot.
Jason Pominville and Jeff Skinner had goals for the Sabres, who led 2-1 after two periods despite having only 10 shots on goal. Buffalo finished with only 22 shots, and Johan Larsson provided an insurance goal with 2:25 remaining in regulation.
The Islanders had won nine of their previous 12 and owned the NHL's best record since Dec. 15.
Skinner's 34th goal of the season came after an Eichel faceoff win, and Pominville broke the tie in the second period. Casey Cizikas scored for the Islanders (33-17-6), who remain in first in the Metropolitan Division.
Ullmark stopped Cal Clutterbuck's breakaway with 7:11 remaining, a sequence that began with Rasmus Ristolainen falling near his own blue line.
Opening salvo: Following an offensive zone faceoff win by Eichel, Skinner gave the Sabres a 1-0 lead with 3:35 left in the first period, when his high shot from the right-wing circle went below the crossbar. It was Eichel's 41st assist of the season, and he already set a new career-high last week against Carolina.
Milestone: With the assist, Eichel became the second Sabres player in the last 20 years to require 53 or fewer games to reach the 60-point mark. The other was Daniel Briere, who reached 60 points in his 50th game in 2006-07.
Quick answer: The Sabres' momentum lasted just over three minutes. Ristolainen committed a turnover on the left-wing boards of his defensive zone, giving the Islanders possession, and the puck found Cizikas, whose shot from the slot made it 1-1 with 22 seconds left in the first period.
Stinger: Vladimir Sobotka was in pain after taking a shot off his left arm late in the first period but did not leave for the dressing room.
Injury scare: Sabres defenseman Marco Scandella left for the dressing room after he was hit by Islanders winger Matt Martin early in the second period, but Scandella returned to the game seven minutes later.
Slow second: Pominville scored the only goal of the second period at 6:49 when he redirected Eichel's backhanded pass through Lehner's legs for a 2-1 lead. It was Pominville's 13th goal of the season and his third in six games since being a healthy scratch in Dallas on Jan. 30.
There were only 25 total shots on goal through two periods and only one penalty was called in the first 40 minutes. For context, the Sabres were averaging 35.1 shots over their previous eight games.
Moment of silence: Prior to the game, the Sabres held a moment of silence to honor the victims of Flight 3407.
Lineup: Defenseman Zach Bogosian and center Casey Mittelstadt were out of the lineup because of lower-body injuries, while defenseman Nathan Beaulieu was a healthy scratch.
16,894: The Sabres' announced attendance was their lowest since they had 16,872 tickets sold for a win over Arizona on Dec. 13.
Next: The Sabres are scheduled to be off Wednesday and will return to practice Thursday morning in Harborcenter. They host the New York Rangers at 7 p.m. Friday.