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The Sabres bookended their season with long droughts. Buffalo got off to a 2-13-1 start, and ended with a 2-16-2 skid.

“This is our job and we failed. So it’s definitely salt in the wound,” forward Marcus Foligno said. “I guess when it rains it pours, and you really just got to keep putting your head down and moving forward.”

Though both teams’ rosters were depleted by injuries, the Islanders‘ fill-ins proved to be better.

Down 2-0, Lee scored both his goals in a span of 3:40, bridging the second intermission, to tie it 17 seconds into the third period.

Mitchell put the Sabres ahead by deflecting in Rasmus Ristolainen’s shot 10:09 into the third, before Nelson scored the equalizer.

Using Ristolainen as a screen, Nelson snapped in 40-foot shot over Knapp’s left shoulder.

The only thing on the line for the Islanders was where they would finish in the overall standings. The win pushed them into 26th place, two points ahead of Calgary.

There is a Sabres‘ tie-in for the Islanders connected to a trade in which Buffalo sent Thomas Vanek to New York for Matt Moulson and a first-round draft pick in one of the next two drafts. The Islanders have until June 1 to determine whether to give up their selection this year or hold off.

NOTES: The Sabres‘ 21 wins are the fewest in an 80-plus-game season, and rank second fewest behind Buffalo’s 16-43-19 finish in 1971-72. Buffalo matched the 21 wins it had in the lockout-shortened season last year. Their 51 regulation losses are the most ever. … The Islanders went 21-18-2 on the road for their best finish since going 21-15-3-2 in 2001-02. … The Sabres were forced to call up G Andrey Makarov, D Mark Pysyk and LW Nicolas Deslauriers from AHL Rochester after the team lost five players to injuries at Boston on Saturday.