Uniondale, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Jaroslav Halak made 21 saves for his sixth shutout of the season to lead the New York Islanders to a 3-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday.
Kyle Okposo, Brock Nelson and Nikolay Kulemin scored the goals to help New York win for the second time in three games.
The Islanders are in second place in the Metropolitan Division, but they did not clinch a playoff berth due to Ottawa's win over New York.
Buffalo lost a second straight game despite getting 33 saves from Andrey Makarov in his NHL debut.
"He acted like a very mature guy here tonight," said Sabres coach Ted Nolan. "He went in and did his job very well."
The Islanders poured on the pressure early and Okposo cashed in with a power- play goal. He took a pass from John Tavares, held the puck and snapped a shot into the back of the net after a shooting lane developed.
"We knew we wanted to come out and not give them much opportunity," said Tavares.
The Sabres had a four-minute power play at the end of the second period carry over into the third but could not score. Buffalo could only manage two shots on goal in that man advantage.
New York finally broke through for a second goal near the midpoint of the final period with a fortunate bounce. Buffalo defenseman Zach Bogosian's pass in the defensive zone deflected off a broken stick on the ice right to Nelson, who skated in and scored his 20th goal of the season with a shot through Makarov's pads.
The Islanders added a third goal after killing a penalty. Travis Hamonic's hard shot was deflected past Makarov by Kulemin in front of the net.
In the final minute, Tavares skated in alone on Makarov and appeared to score, but the official whistled the play dead before the puck crossed the line.
Halak earned his 36th career shutout ... New York's Ryan Strome lost his two- game goal streak and four-game point streak ... Kulemin skated in his 500th NHL game ... The Sabres had scored at least three goals in six straight games.