Ryan Spooner scores twice in 3rd, Bruins beat Sabres 4-2

Boston Bruins forward Ryan Spooner (51) celebrates his goal during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Buffalo Sabres, Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Ryan Spooner scored twice in the final four minutes and the Boston Bruins beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-2 on Thursday night.

Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci also scored in the opening game of a home-and-home series. Krejci also had an assist, and Tuukka Rask made 31 saves to help the Bruins snap a two-game losing streak.

Spooner broke a tie with 3:53 remaining. He took a cross-ice pass from Krejci and beat Robin Lehner with a straightaway slap shot. Spooner scored again into an empty net in the final minute.

Marcus Foligno and Kyle Okposo scored for the Sabres. Matt Moulson assisted on both goals, and Lehner made 34 saves. Buffalo has just one regulation win in its last six games.

Boston went 2-1-1 on a four-game trip and has earned 10 of its 19 regulation victories this season against Atlantic Division opponents, including three wins over Buffalo.

The Bruins scored twice in the second period to overcome a 2-0 deficit.

Brad Marchand fed Bergeron in front of the net to put Boston on the scoreboard 3:50 into the period. Marchand leads the Bruins with 20 assists and 30 points.

Krejci tied it at 2 on a power play with 3:47 left in the second period. Krejci pounced on a loose puck in front of the net and lifted a backhand over a sprawling Lehner. Sabres coach Dan Bylsma challenged that Boston’s Tim Schaller interfered with Lehner but the goal was upheld on replay.

Buffalo controlled the early action, putting nine shots on goal in the opening five minutes and 16 by the end of the first period.

Jack Eichel’s backhand pass from the corner set up Foligno for a one-timer from the slot 1:32 into the game. Okposo scored his team-leading 10th goal on a power play with 1:50 remaining in the first period.

Bruins forward David Backes left the game late in the first period after getting hit by Buffalo’s William Carrie in front of the Sabres bench. Backes laid on the ice with his eyes closed for over a minute before being helped to the dressing room. Carrier was penalized for an illegal check to the head

As soon as Carrier left the penalty box, Boston’s Adam McQuaid skated off the bench and instigated a fight with Carrier, leading to Okposo’s goal on Buffalo’s third power play of the period. Carrier injured his right hand during the fight and did not return.

NOTES: Sabres D Dimitry Kulikov sat out and is day-to-day after aggravating a lower-back injury that kept him out of 14 games earlier this season. D Cody Franson returned to the lineup after missing three games with an undisclosed injury. … Bruins D John-Michael Lines (concussion) participated in Thursday morning’s optional skate but coach Claude Julien said there is still no timetable for Lines return. He has missed 15 games. … Sabres F Tyler Ennis skated Thursday for the first time since undergoing groin surgery Nov. 10.

UP NEXT

The Atlantic Division rivals meet for the final time this season Saturday in Boston.