BUFFALO - The Boston Bruins got out of their slump by using some grit and a dose of offense from Ryan Spooner.
Spooner scored in regulation and had the only goal in the shootout to give the Bruins a come-from-behind 3-2 win against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center on Thursday.
Spooner snapped a shot over the glove of Sabres goalie Chad Johnson in the first round of the shootout. Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask stopped Buffalo's Brian Gionta, Evander Kane, and Ryan O'Reilly in the tiebreaker.
"In the past I've done a couple moves and they haven't really worked out," Spooner said. "Once you get one, it's kind of in the back of your head that you can actually score. I usually ask Rask. The last game he told me not to do my move and shoot it and it worked. Tonight he told me to maybe cut back, but I just kind of shot it there."
The Bruins (27-18-6) ended a two-game losing streak. The Sabres (21-26-5) had won their previous two games. The teams play again Saturday at TD Garden.
Video: BOS@BUF: Marchand goes end to end for great goal
"I think we knew that we had to improve on a few areas of our game and we worked on that yesterday and I thought we adjusted tonight and had a better game," said Bruins forward Brad Marchand, whose goal 2:44 into the third period tied the game 2-2. "I thought even though we were behind most of the game, we were playing pretty well and I thought we limited a lot of chances and ultimately we got the win which is what we need."
The game made it to the shootout despite the fact both the Sabres and Bruins had power-play opportunities in overtime. The Bruins nearly won it on their power-play chance when Patrice Bergeron took a shot in front of the net, but Johnson made a highlight-reel save.
"I know Bergeron had a set play there where he grabs it, tries to turn and spin it," Johnson said. "I knew I wasn't going to be able to get there with a push, so I just tried to reach back and get my glove there."
Boston trailed 2-0 after Sabres forward Sam Reinhart scored 47 seconds into the second period. But Spooner started Boston's comeback when he scored at 1:45, and Marchand tied it with his 23rd goal of the season.
"I thought our guys competed hard," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "They made it 2-0 at the start of the second, but we came right back and scored. Nobody panicked, but we continued to compete. I guess our puck management could be better as far as the passes and execution, more than puck management, just got better and our game got better as well. I liked our game tonight. I know it was a shootout win, but that's a team that's playing pretty well on the other side. I know they played last night, but I thought they had pretty good legs. We know from here on in it's going to be tough; there are going to be grinding games, we've just got to manage ourselves into staying into it like we did tonight and finding ways to win."
Spooner's 11th goal of the season came when he poked the rebound of a shot by Bruins defenseman Torey Krug past Johnson. Spooner has five points in his past six games.
"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," Julien said. "That was an important goal for us and kept us alive."
Marchand took a pass from Bergeron and broke into the zone against Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian, then deked and put a backhand shot over Johnson's glove.
"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."
Marchand's goal proved to be a bad goal for the Sabres in that it cost them the lead and it got past Johnson who had a clean look at the shot.
"There's no other way to look at it; it's not a good shot, it's not a good goal," Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said.
"It didn't surprise me," Johnson said. "When he comes down the wing like that, it rolls off his stick and is a goal."
Marchand has eight goals in his past eight games.
Video: BOS@BUF: Kane beats Rask for 1-0 lead
"He's been really good," Julien said. "Tonight he wasn't just good scoring, he was good everywhere; he was all over the ice. Good skating legs and did that great job on the penalty kill, coming back, so I thought tonight was a really complete game on his part that when he plays like that he becomes one of the good players around the league, no doubt."
The Sabres took a 1-0 lead when Kane took a pass out from Gionta and chipped the puck over the right shoulder of Rask 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 when he tipped a shot by Sabres defenseman Mark Pysyk past Rask.
"It was a very tight game right from the bat," Rask said. "We had more shots than they did, but it was an up-and-down game. You really had to fight for every inch on the ice there."
It was Rask's first start against the Sabres in Buffalo since Feb. 28, 2012.
Video: Bruins top Sabres on Spooner's shootout goal