Spooner delivers as Bruins edge Sabres

Spooner delivers as Bruins edge Sabres

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Center Ryan Spooner delivered when the Boston Bruins needed it most on Thursday night.

Spooner scored in regulation and the shootout to lead the Bruins to a 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres. The Bruins overcame a two-goal deficit in the victory.

“They went up by two there and we could’ve got down on ourselves, but we handled it extremely well and that was good to see,” Spooner said.

Spooner scored the lone goal of the shootout. Shooting first for Boston, Spooner skated far to his right before cutting and putting a slick wrist shot inside the near post.

“In the past I’ve done a couple moves and they haven’t really worked out,” Spooner said. “Once you get one, it’s kinda in the back of your head that you can actually score.”

Spooner also had a critical goal after the Sabres took a 2-0 early in the second period. Less than a minute after the Sabres scored, he finished a rebound opportunity to set up Boston’s comeback.

“They made it 2-0 at the start of the second, but we came right back and scored,” Bruins head coach Claude Julien said. “It’s huge. It’s shortly after we get ourselves back in the game. I thought from that point on in the second period we seemed to kind of, not take over the game completely, but we had a better second half to me after Spooner scored. That was an important goal for us and kept us alive.”

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Left winger Brad Marchand also scored in regulation for the Bruins (27-18-6) while goalie Tuukka Rask made 26 saves.

Center Sam Reinhart and left winger Evander Kane scored in regulation for the Sabres (21-26-5) while goalie Chad Johnson made 31 saves.

“We barely had a chance to sit on (the lead),” Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma said. “We gave it back to them.”

The Sabres jumped out to a 2-0 lead but the game was largely even.

Kane opened the scoring with 8:25 remaining in the first period. After Sabres captain Brian Gionta rang a shot off the left post, Gionta recovered the puck before finding Kane near the Bruins net. Kane tucked a quick shot inside the far post to his left for his 12th goal of the season.

“He’s scored more goals maybe, but that’s as strong and as big as he’s played,” Bylsma said of Kane.

Reinhart made it 2-0 47 seconds into the second period on a deflection in front of the Bruins net. Reinhart tipped defenseman Mark Pysyk’s long shot from the point for his 13th goal of the season.

The Bruins quickly struck back by getting on the board 58 seconds later. After defenseman Torey Krug’s long shot from the point was stopped, Spooner poked home the rebound for his 11th goal of the season. Spooner has five points in his last six games.

Marchand evened the score 2:44 into the third. The Boston left winger skated with speed up ice before putting a seemingly harmless backhand shot past Johnson for his 23rd goal of the season and his eighth goal in the past eight games.

“I wanted to get a quick shot off,” Marchand said. “When I pulled it through, I just tried to get Bogosian’s stick out of the way and get a shot off so luckily it found the net.”

Both teams had chances to win the game in overtime with one power-play opportunity apiece. With Kane in the box for slashing, Johnson made a tremendous stop on Bruins center Patrice Bergeron from point-blank range 1:29 into overtime. With Bergeron in the box moments later for hooking, Rask made a big save with 39.1 seconds left in the extra session on O’Reilly.

“We knew that we had to improve on a few areas of our game and I thought we adjusted tonight and had a better game,” Marchand said. “Even though we were behind most of the game, we were playing pretty well and we limited a lot of chances and ultimately we got the win -- which is what we need.”

NOTES: Sabres D Mike Weber and D Carlo Colaiacovo were scratched. C Joonas Kemppainen, D Joe Morrow and RW Tyler Randell were scratched for the Bruins. ... The teams meet again Saturday in Boston for their fourth and final time this season. After a home game against the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday, the Bruins will go on a season-high, six-game road trip that starts Feb. 11 against Winnipeg and ends Feb. 20 against Dallas. ... The Sabres and Bruins split their previous two meetings. Buffalo is the only team that Boston has never swept in a season series.