NEWARK, N.J. — Kyle Palmieri had a goal and two assists, and Cory Schneider made 34 saves to lead the New Jersey Devils to a 4-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday night.
Miles Wood, Jesper Bratt and Joey Anderson also scored as the Devils won consecutive games for the second time since the start of the year.
Sam Reinhart scored for the Sabres, whose wild-card playoff chances took a hit with a second loss in three days. Carter Hutton made 20 saves as Buffalo fell six points behind Pittsburgh in the race for the final wild-card spot.
The win was Schneider’s second in three days. His win in relief against Minnesota on Friday was his first since December 2017, the same month he had a five-game winning streak.
Schneider had been struggling to regain his form after being limited by a hip problem that required off-season surgery.
After a scoreless first period, the Devils jumped to a 2-0 lead as Palmieri set up on goals by Wood and Bratt.
Wood got the first one from right in front at 7:25 of the second with a quick rush up the ice. He sent a pass to Travis Zajac who tipped it to Palmieri, who found Wood coming down the middle of the ice for his sixth goal.
Bratt doubled the margin with 6:22 left in the period early in a power play. He took a pass from Palmieri in the right circle and one-time a shot past Hutton for his sixth goal.
The Sabres got back in the game with 56 seconds left in the second when defenceman Zach Bogosian made a nifty, cross-ice pass to Reinhart for a shot into an open net.
Palmieri iced the game with his team-high 26th goal. He broke in on the right side and roofed a shot from the faceoff circle. Joey Anderson added a short-handed, empty-net goal with 3:09 to play.
NOTES: Sabres C Casey Mittelstadt returned to the lineup after missing two games with a lower-body injury. … Devils captain Andy Greene left the ice in the first period after being hit by the puck near his facial area. He returned later in the period. … Devils C Pavel Zacha missed his first game since early November with an upper-body injury. … New Jersey has a power-play goal in five straight games.
Sabres: Start a Florida swing, playing the Panthers on Tuesday night and Lightning on Thursday night.
Devils: Host Pittsburgh on Tuesday night, looking to sweep their four-game season series.
More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Tom Canavan, The Associated Press