BUFFALO, New York — Center Ryan Spooner scored in regulation and the shootout to lead the Boston Bruins to a 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night.
Spooner scored the lone goal of the shootout. Shooting first for Boston, Spooner skated far to his right before cutting and putting a slick wrist shot inside the near post.
Left winger Brad Marchand also scored in regulation for the Bruins (27-18-6) while goalie Tuukka Rask made 26 saves.
Center Sam Reinhart and left winger Evander Kane scored in regulation for the Sabres (21-26-5) while goalie Chad Johnson made 31 saves.
Kane opened the scoring with 8:25 remaining in the first period. After Sabres captain Brian Gionta rang a shot off the left post, Gionta recovered the puck before finding Kane near the Bruins net. Kane tucked a quick shot inside the far post to his left for his 12th goal of the season.
Reinhart made it 2-0 47 seconds into the second period on a deflection in front of the Bruins net. Reinhart tipped defenseman Mark Pysyk’s long shot from the point for his 13th goal of the season.
The Bruins quickly struck back by getting on the board less than a minute later. After defenseman Torey Krug’s long shot from the point was stopped, Spooner poked home the rebound for his 11th goal of the season. Spooner has five points in his last six games.
Marchand evened the score 2:44 into the third. The Boston left winger skated with speed up ice before putting a seemingly harmless backhand shot past Johnson for his 23rd goal of the season and his eighth goal in the past eight games.
Both teams had chances to win the game in overtime with one power-play opportunity apiece. With Kane in the box for slashing, Johnson made a tremendous stop on Bruins center Patrice Bergeron from point-blank range 1:29 into overtime. With Bergeron in the box moments later for hooking, Rask made a big save with 39.1 seconds left in the extra session on O’Reilly.
NOTES: Sabres D Mike Weber and D Carlo Colaiacovo were scratched. C Joonas Kemppainen, D Joe Morrow and RW Tyler Randell were scratched for the Bruins. … The teams meet again Saturday in Boston for their fourth and final time this season. After a home game against the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday, the Bruins will go on a season-high, six-game road trip that starts Feb. 11 against Winnipeg and ends Feb. 20 against Dallas. … The Sabres and Bruins split their previous two meetings. Buffalo is the only team that Boston has never swept in a season series.
WASHINGTON — Alex Ovechkin, back in the lineup after sitting out Tuesday’s game, scored the go-ahead goal with 2:40 left and the Washington Capitals defeated the New York Islanders 3-2 on Thursday night.
Ovechkin one-timed a feed from center Nicklas Backstrom past Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak for his 29th goal of the season.
Left winger Andre Burakovsky (five goals in his past four games) and right winger T.J. Oshie also scored for Washington (36-9-4). Backstrom had two assists and Braden Holtby made 24 saves.
Ovechkin was suspended for one contest after sitting out Sunday’s All-Star game to rest a lower-body injury.
The Islanders had tied the game at 5:38 of the third when right winger Josh Bailey, at the top of the crease, one-timed a pass from defenseman Marek Zidlicky by Holtby.
Center Mikhail Grabovski also scored for the Islanders (26-17-6), and Halak made 20 saves.
SUNRISE, Florida — The first-place Florida Panthers won their fifth straight game, defeating the Detroit Red Wings 6-3 on Thursday at the BB&T Center.
Florida right winger Jaromir Jagr had a goal and two assists — his first three-point game since October. The goal was his 16th of the season, breaking the NHL record for a player age 43 or older — one more than Gordie Howe had in 1979-80.
The Panthers (31-15-5), who lead the Atlantic Division by seven points over Tampa Bay and Boston, got first-period goals from left winger Brandon Pirri, center Aleksander Barkov and center Vincent Trocheck — all within a three-minute span. Center Derek MacKenzie scored in the second period, and Trocheck added an empty-netter with 5:41 left in the third.
During its winning streak, Florida has scored at least four goals in every game.