It might have been a carryover from the lager-filled Shamrock Run a few blocks away. Maybe, as Patrick Kaleta said, Buffalo’s fans looked at the afternoon start time and wanted to revel in a Bills-like atmosphere. More likely, Sabres backers saw honest-to-goodness effort and reacted accordingly.

Whatever the reason, fun returned to Sabreland on Saturday.

With the positive backing of a sellout crowd, the Sabres skated to a 4-3 shootout victory over New Jersey. The 19,070 fans in First Niagara Center were more vocal and excited than during any game in Buffalo, with the exception of the home opener, and were treated to the team’s first three-game winning streak of the season.

“We played hard hockey for the fans,” goaltender Ryan Miller said. “I said before that’s all they want. They want you to work hard and they want you to take the puck to the net. If it doesn’t work out, they’re still going to appreciate the effort.

“I’m glad they were able to get rewarded. Guys did a nice job of battling and pulled one out.”

The victory showed the Sabres might be turning the corner toward respectability. They didn’t get overly rattled during a wild third period that featured four goals, three ties and two lead changes.