The Buffalo Sabres made the most of their limited opportunities Thursday night but they couldn’t hang onto a late third-period lead.
Brad Marchand scored twice, once in the third period and again in overtime to lift the Boston Bruins over the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 at First Niagara Center.
Buffalo scored two goals on three shots in the second period to take a 2-1 lead into the dressing room.
The last time the Sabres scored two or more goals on three or fewer shots on goal in a period was Nov. 17, 2005 against Washington, according to Elias Sports Bureau. In that game, they scored two goals on three shots in the third period.
However, the Bruins rallied on Thursday, out-shooting Buffalo 16-4 in the third period. Boston finally capitalized when Marchand got his first by deflecting the puck off his glove and past goaltender Jhonas Enroth.
“Lately, we’ve been sitting back in the third and it’s catching up to us,” Sabres forward Tyler Ennis, who had a goal and an assist, said.
“Against Boston, a team like that, they’re relentless and they keep coming. We can’t sit back. It looks like we got a little nervous and tentative and gave up too many chances in the third. We have to play like we did in the first and second.”
THE OT WINNER
Ennis and Drew Stafford, Buffalo’s other goal scorer, started the overtime period with Josh Gorges and Tyler Myers on defense. They were on the ice for 1:20 and unable to complete the long change while Boston sustained offensive zone time and managed to make a full line change in that time.
“We got caught out there for a minute-and-a-half and they were doing a lot of changes,” Ennis said. “We got caught running around and we left [Enroth] out to dry on a point-blank shot.”
Marchand, with fresh legs, was able to slip in past the Sabres defense and fire a one-timer past Enroth for the game winner.
“They got a couple good shots in there and we started running around a little bit,” Enroth said. “Guys got tired. We can’t give up goals like that in overtime. That’s why we have two wins right now.”
The Sabres are now 2-8-1 through 11 games this season.
“It doesn’t matter if you get caught tired, you’ve still got to know where to go on the ice,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. “We got caught getting lost on the ice and they scored.
“…I liked our effort, don’t get me wrong. You’re just frustrated that you played hard and you didn’t get two points.”
Adam McQuaid scored Boston’s first goal, which tied the game with 8:24 remaining in the second period on a shot that deflected off defenseman Mike Weber’s glove.
AT LONG LAST
The Sabres finally broke out on the power play Thursday night after a drought that lasted 10 games.
Stafford opened the scoring 5:12 into the second period on the man advantage.
The Sabres were 0-for-33 (including 0-for-1 on the evening) heading into the power play. Ennis, down low near the slot, found Stafford on the left wing and Stafford one-timed it in past Niklas Svedberg for the goal.
It was Stafford’s first of the season. While he was glad to finally have that weight off his shoulders, he was happier that the team finally found the back of the net on the power play.
“Honestly, I think that was more important just to break that goose egg on the power play because that’s something we need to take a lot of pride in,” he said. “It was just embarrassing, unacceptable to go 0-for for this long and it’s one of things where we’ve been working at it. We’ve been trying different combinations and for it to finally click, it feels pretty good so hopefully we can keep it going.”
‘A LITTLE EXTRA JUMP’
Enroth had some extra motivation heading into the game. He had served as the backup goaltender the past two games and was champing at the bit for another start. He got his chance and played well, finishing with 34 saves.
“I wasn’t happy [not] playing these couple of games so I had a little extra jump in me going into this game and it felt pretty good,” he said.
SHOT TOTALS STILL DOWN
While the Sabres did hold a lead heading into the third, Bruins goaltender Niklas Svedberg only needed to make 13 saves to pick up the victory. Buffalo has had trouble getting the puck on net this season and while the effort was there, Ennis said they need to be able to get the job done.
“We still need to address the shots, though. We still had not enough shots,” he said. “We’ve got to find a way to put those through. But we’ve got to stay positive, that’s a good team and we got a point. We’ve got to go into Pittsburgh and play a full 60, not just 40.”
The Sabres will play the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center on Saturday at 7 p.m.