Exactly one minute into the opening period, Bryan Little gave the Jets an early 1-0 lead. Jets forward Evander Kane won a puck battle along the boards behind the Sabres net and passed it to the front of the net to the Little, who, while left wide open, cashed in with a wrist shot from the low slot.
The Jets could have scored a couple more goals in the opening period, but Ryan Miller stayed strong, making several big saves, including one Blake Wheeler right on the goal line with his goal stick midway through the period, Slater on a breakaway with two minutes remaining in the period, and then a poke-check on Evander Kane on another partial breakaway with 22 seconds left in the period.
The Jets scored again 5:44 into the second period on a goal by their captain, Andrew Ladd, giving them a 2-0 lead. Sabres forward Nathan Gerbe tried clearing the puck out of the defensive zone with a pass to Jason Pominville, but the puck was intercepted by Jets defenseman Ron Hainsey. Hainsey then tipped the puck to Ladd, who wristed a shot from the top of the left circle that may have deflected off of Sabres defenseman Alex Sulzer before entering the net past Ryan Miller.
After a lengthy session of lackluster play that led to boos from the crowd at the First Niagara Center, the Sabres finally got on the board with a goal by Jason Pominville with 21.3 seconds remaining in the second period. Pominville took the puck from the Sabres own blue line starting a 2-on-1, and after carrying it into the Jets zone took a wrist shot from the left faceoff dot that beat Jets goalie Ondrej Pavalec up high and cut the score to 2-1.
The Sabres had a much better period in the third, but were unable to get the equalizer, despite a power play chance with four minutes remaining.
The loss drops the Sabres to 6-10-1 on the season for a total of 13 points, two points ahead of the last place Washington Capitals. Their next game is on Thursday in Toronto against the Maple Leafs.