With each win, there is a growing sense in this town that the Sabres just might be capable of mounting a late-season playoff push.

It is a much different mood for Martin Brodeur and the slumping Devils. Their worry grew deeper last night after their skid reached seven games with a 3-2 shootout loss to the Sabres.

“It’s really concerning that we can’t just win. That’s the bottom line,” the Devils goalie said. “We played one of the teams that we should beat, and I thought we deserved to beat them the way we played.”

The Devils lost to Buffalo despite outshooting the Sabres 37-22 and outplaying them for numerous long stretches.

The Devils (15-14-10) dropped to 0-3-4 in their past seven, their longest winless streak since going 0-4-2-1 from Nov. 10-23, 2001. This skid has coincided with the absence of top forward Ilya Kovalchuk, who missed his seventh game because of a shoulder injury.

The Devils earned one point to move into ninth place in the Eastern Conference standings, but the loss clinched a playoff spot for the conference-leading Penguins.

The Sabres (16-17-6), meanwhile, are showing signs of resilience.

With 38 points they have jumped into 11th place after winning their third in a row during a week in which the team began rebuilding by trading away three veterans, including captain Jason Pominville.

Nathan Gerbe scored the lone shootout goal, and Buffalo’s Ryan Miller stopped 37 shots through overtime, and three more in the shootout — including a victory-clinching glove save on Travis Zajac.