For once, it wasn’t the Boston Bruins surrendering a two-goal lead in a game.
Ryan Spooner started and finished the comeback against the Buffalo Sabres at the First Niagara Center Thursday night with a goal in the second period and the lone shootout strike to secure a 3-2 road victory for the B’s.
Evander Kane registered the opening tally after a bumbling sequence in the Sabres zone that saw neither of David Pastrnak or Kevan Miller make a play on the puck, allowing an odd-man rush the other way. With the B’s out of position in their own end, Kane was able to corral a loose puck to Tuukka Rask’s left and slip a shot into the net behind him for a 1-0 lead.
Sam Reinhart added to Buffalo’s lead just 47 seconds into the second frame when he deflected Mark Pysyk’s point shot past Rask to make it 2-0.
Spooner answered just 58 seconds later when he dug a puck out from Matt Beleskey’s feet and flipped backhander into the net on former Bruin Chad Johnson’s blocker side. It was Spooner’s 11th goal of the season.
Brad Marchand tallied the equalizer with his team-leading 23rd marker on a nifty rush and backhand shot that Johnson appeared to have the angle on, but was unable to stop from sneaking through him and over the goal line.
From there, Rask held down the fort. Even as the teams exchanged 4-on-3 power plays in overtime, neither squad was able to break through. Patrice Bergeron had the best chance to end it when he was standing just outside the crease, got his stick on a loose puck and fired it on net, only to be denied by Johnson’s glove.
That set the stage for Spooner’s quick cut and shot that beat Johnson and stood up as the winning tally in the shootout, giving the B’s the extra point.
As the old adage goes- the scoreboard don’t say how- just how many. This is a game that against a more skilled opponent, the Bruins likely don’t battle back from, but it moved the team into third place in the Atlantic Division and keeps Boston firmly in the playoff hunt as the 2016 NHL season enters the real stretch drive.