Brad Marchand’s status was a game-time decision that paid off for the Boston Bruins.
His availability was in question due an undisclosed injury, but Marchand had two goals, including at 1:20 of overtime, and the Boston Bruins won their third straight road game with a 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night.
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"It was all depending on how I felt," Marchand said. "When I got out there I felt pretty good. It’s going to take a lot to miss a game so I was pretty happy that I was able to play."
After starting the season with just three points in 11 games, Marchand also picked up an assist to double his season point total.
And his game-tying goal in the third period was unconventional; The goal at 14:30 of the third period was reviewed after he redirected Loui Eriksson’s shot past Enroth with his hand.
But the score stood.
"I know it did hit my arm there so I was definitely nervous," Marchand said. "I was hoping no one would see it on the replay, but it got in and luckily they called it a goal."
Drew Stafford and Tyler Ennis each had a goal and an assist for the Sabres, who remain winless at home this season.
Adam McQuaid also scored for the Bruins, and Niklas Svedberg made 13 saves for his second win of the season. Both came against Buffalo.
Jhonas Enroth made 34 saves for Buffalo, and at times had Boston frustrated. Despite outplaying the Sabres for long stretches, the Bruins watched as Buffalo scored on two of three second-period shots.
"The three shots is great, but the two goals is not so much," Bruins coach Claude Julien said.
Buffalo’s first power-play goal of the season came on its 34th opportunity, as Stafford received a cross-ice pass from Ennis, who had skated from behind the net. Svedberg could not get across in time to stop Stafford’s wrist shot at the 5:12 of the second.
"That’s something you need to take pride in," Chris Stewart said. "It’s just embarrassing, unacceptable to go 0-for this long."
The Bruins tied the game at 11:36 when McQuaid’s shot deflected off Mike Weber and past Enroth’s left skate.
Marcus Foligno created a breakaway with about five minutes remaining in the period, and stepped around Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton before Svedberg stopped a low shot with his right pad.
Buffalo retook the lead at 16:25 of the second off a three-way play started by Stafford in his zone. His bank shot off the boards found Torrey Mitchell on a 2-on-1 break with Ennis, who finished the chance with a hard wrister.
"It was good to get a point against Boston," Ennis said. "We wanted two points, but we got to stay positive."
The Bruins referred to the victory as a "character win" that includes what they hope will be Marchand’s breakout performance.
"He can be pretty slippery, but he’s been playing a lot on the outside with the puck and without it and it doesn’t bode well for him," Julien said. "So it’s nice to see him get rewarded with the things that he needs to do."
NOTES: Buffalo managed just seven shots in the second and third periods combined. Chris Stewart fought Milan Lucic just 51 seconds into the game.