Devils aim to stay hot against Sabres

( - Although it's most likely come too late to get them into the playoffs, the New Jersey Devils have been playing solid hockey of late.

The Devils will take aim at a third straight victory Friday when they visit the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center.

With only 12 games remaining on its schedule, New Jersey has almost certainly run out of time to qualify for the postseason. The Devils, who haven't made the playoffs since going to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2012, are 10 points behind the Boston Bruins for the last wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

New Jersey is coming off Tuesday's 2-0 win over Pittsburgh and the victory pushed the club's record to 9-3-2 over its last 14 trips to the ice. In addition, a 6-2 loss at Minnesota on March 10 marked the only time the Devils allowed more than three goals in any game during that stretch.

Cory Schneider, the Devils' workhorse goaltender, has allowed only one goal over New Jersey's two-game win streak. He stopped 30-of-31 shots in a 4-1 win at Arizona on Saturday before recording his fifth shutout of the season with a 35-save effort in the home test versus the Penguins.

Schneider stopped 14 shots in the first period and eight in the second before capping the shutout with 13 stops in the final stanza.

"After the first period, I made some good saves and felt good about myself," said Schneider.

Jacob Josefson scored the game winner late in the second period and Adam Henrique added an empty-net score in the final minute of regulation.

New Jersey forward Patrik Elias missed his second straight game due to back spasms and is expected to sit out again tonight.

Keith Kinkaid will give Schneider a rest between the pipes. The rookie has never faced the Sabres.

The Devils, who are just 12-19-3 as the guest this season, will try to complete a sweep of the season series versus Buffalo. Jersey won the two previous meetings in 2014-15 on home ice, posting a 4-1 win on Jan. 6 before edging the Sabres, 2-1, in a shootout on Feb. 17.

The Sabres have won the last four encounters in western New York, although three of those tilts went to the shootout.

Buffalo, the team with the fewest points in the NHL this season, picked up its first win this month when it halted a seven-game slide with Tuesday's surprising shootout victory in Boston.

Anders Lindback anchored the win in Beantown with a superb 44-save effort. Tyler Ennis scored the lone goal of the shootout for the Sabres, who won for the first time since beating Vancouver on Feb. 26. It was Buffalo's first road victory since a win at Columbus on Feb. 24.

Ennis, Buffalo's first shooter in the skills competition, faked a shot and proceeded to send a wrister over a sprawled Niklas Svedberg. Lindback stopped Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Torey Krug in the shootout to seal the outcome.

Rasmus Ristolainen scored a power-play goal early in the third period for the Sabres. Lindback, who was acquired in trade with Dallas in early February, earned his first win with the Sabres.

"We kept the game tight, then had a big third, said Ristolainen. "We kept working hard. We earned it.

Buffalo halted a five-game road slide with the win. Tonight it hopes to improve upon a 12-19-4 record at First Niagara Center.