BUFFALO, N.Y. - Much to his relief, Clarke MacArthur's first game of the season was a memorable one.
MacArthur scored 3:16 into overtime, and Ryan Miller made 25 saves to give the Buffalo Sabres a much-needed 2-1 win over the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night. MacArthur was called up from Rochester of the AHL on Tuesday night. Cruising in the high slot against the Bruins, he one-timed Drew Stafford's pass from the left boards past goalie Tim Thomas for the win, only Buffalo's third in its last nine games.
"I was nervous all day today," said MacArthur, who was playing in the 20th game of his career. "Even throughout the game, it's always like that your first couple of games. You're just nervous every time you get out there. So to get one of those, it's just a relief."
It's also a positive development for a Sabres team that has struggled some early this season after winning the President's Trophy last year. Buffalo is still a game under .500, and has scored only seven goals over the last four games, but is hoping to build off of MacArthur's big goal.
"It's a good step forward," said Miller, who has played in all but two games for the Sabres.
Ales Kotalik also scored for Buffalo, which snapped a three-game losing streak and rebounded from a shutout loss to Montreal on Monday, the second time this season its been blanked. The Sabres, however, are still in the cellar of the Northeast Division.
"It wasn't our best game, but it wasn't our worst either," Buffalo defenceman Brian Campbell said. "Wins are important. We have to be able to take advantage of these points and start climbing."
Thomas finished with 27 saves and Marc Savard scored for the Bruins, who have lost three straight. Boston has lost eight of its last nine in Buffalo.
"I got a decent look at it, but it knuckle-curved on me," Thomas said about MacArthur's winner.
Boston grabbed a 1-0 lead on Savard's third goal of the season at 8:07 of the first period. From the left circle, Savard was able to convert a rebound after Miller made the initial save on Glen Murray.
The Sabres tied it with 4:10 remaining in the second period when Kotalik scored on the power play. After accepting a pass from Maxim Afinogenov, Kotalik ripped a slap shot from the left point for his third of the season.
The goal snapped Buffalo's scoreless sequence at 99 minutes, 13 seconds. Buffalo hadn't scored since Thomas Vanek converted late in the Sabres' 4-2 loss to Florida last Friday.
Thomas helped send the game into overtime with solid stops on Toni Lydman's wrist shot and Stafford's rebound attempt with 30 seconds remaining in regulation.
"We played well enough to deserve a win," Boston coach Claude Julien said. "We collapsed a little bit in overtime and gave them that goal."
The banged-up Sabres were without five regulars because of injuries, including forwards Tim Connolly (strained abdomen) and Adam Mair (sprained right ankle), who both missed their first game after being hurt in Montreal. Enter MacArthur, who was leading the AHL in scoring with 18 points.
"He's played really well in Rochester and he did some good work for us tonight," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "We needed a boost and I thought Clarke gave us that."
Notes: Both teams are in the midst of playing nine straight games against Northeast Division foes. ... Boston hosts Montreal on Thursday in the opener of a three-game homestand. ... Boston D Andrew Ference missed his second game because of an upper body injury. ... Lydman wore a full face mask for the second straight game to help protect a gash above his lip.