Boston Bruins beat Buffalo Sabres
BUFFALO, N.Y. >> Zdeno Chara floated in the go-ahead goal from the left point 29 seconds into the third period and the Boston Bruins beat the Buffalos Sabres 4-1 on Friday night.
Ryan Spooner scored an insurance goal with 9:07 left and added two assists, and Brett Connolly scored into an empty net with 1:09 remaining. Matt Beleskey had a goal and an assist, and Boston snapped a 0-2-1 skid and improved to 2-4-1 in its past seven.
The Bruins beat Buffalo by overcoming a 1-0 first-period deficit and after squandering third-period leads in losing each of their past two: A 3-2 loss at Philadelphia on Wednesday night and a 2-1 loss at the New York Rangers on Monday night.
Backup Jonas Gustavsson stopped 33 shots, including the final 24 he faced.
Fourth-line center David Legwand scored for Buffalo. The Sabres ended a two-game winning streak and are 0-5-1 in their past six home games. That matches Buffalo's worst home skid since losing six straight from Dec. 31-Feb. 5.
Chara scored after Beleskey won a faceoff to the left of Buffalo's net, and Spooner fed the puck back to Chara at the point. After taking a step to his left to avoid an oncoming defender, Chara snapped a shot that glided through a crowd and went in just inside the far post.
It was Chara's sixth goal of the season and first in 19 games.
Spooner's goal came when he fired a shot from the right boards that went in off the inside of goalie Robin Lehner's stick.
Lehner made his first appearance since spraining his right ankle midway through the second period of Buffalo's season-opening 3-1 loss to Ottawa. He stopped 27 shots in his first complete game since playing for Ottawa last season, when he stopped 25 shots in a 7-2 win over Edmonton on Feb. 14.
Boston tied it 61 seconds into the second period after Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe misplayed the puck at his blue line. Ryan Spooner broke in alone and had his shot stopped by Lehner, but Beleskey swooped in and converted the rebound.
The Sabres opened the scoring with 5:23 left in the first during a scramble in front. Tim Schaller first had his shot hit off the post and then was foiled on a wrap-around attempt. Bruins defenseman Colin Miller had the puck poked off his stick by Buffalo's Matt Moulson behind the net. The turnover went directly to Legwand, who circled the goal and stuffed a shot in through Gustavsson's legs.
The Sabres' power play was blanked on three consecutive chances during 7-minute stretch in the second period. Buffalo managed nine shots on goal during that span but was unable to beat Gustavsson. His best save came when he tracked across the goal line to stop Brian Gionta's redirection of Moulson's pass into the slot.
The Sabres even failed to capitalize during a 20-second stretch during which two Bruins were forced to defend after their sticks broke.
NOTES: After closing a five-game trip, the Bruins return home to face Toronto on Saturday. ... Bruins RW David Pastrnak took part in the morning skate but missed his second consecutive game with an upper-body injury. ... Sabres C Zemgus Girgensons did not return after sustaining an upper-body injury midway through the first period. ... Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan and his newly hired assistant head coach/twin brother Rob were in attendance.
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