BUFFALO -- Brad Marchand and the Boston Bruins were each in need of a big game, and that's what they got Thursday.
Marchand scored twice, including the game-winning goal 1:20 into overtime, and assisted on Adam McQuaid's first goal in more than a year to give the Bruins a 3-2 victory against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center.
Marchand's game-winner was a one-timer high to the glove side of Sabres goalie Jhonas Enroth after a pass from Reilly Smith from behind the net for his third goal of the season.
"It was a great play by Dougie [Hamilton] to get it over to [Reilly]," Marchand said. "[I] saw him coming off the bench and I just tried to pop open for [Smith] and he made a great pass and I was just lucky it went in."
Marchand's first goal tied the game 2-2 with 5:30 left in the third period. Loui Eriksson took a shot from the faceoff circle to the left of Enroth that deflected off Marchand's hand past the goalie.
"When I was going through I saw [Eriksson] wind up and I don't trust Loui shooting so I just tried to put my hand up," Marchand said. "I saw it kind of coming up high and it hit my arm and went in."
The NHL Situation Room reviewed the play and said the puck glanced off Marchand in a legal fashion.
"I wasn't sure. I don't really know the rule on that," Marchand said. "I know it did hit my arm there, so I was definitely nervous. I was hoping no one would see it on the replay, but it got in and luckily they called it a goal."
Marchand was a game-time decision to play Thursday after he sustained a minor injury in practice Wednesday. Marchand's three points against the Sabres doubled his season total to six.
"Brad has been having a slow start to the season and, again, in the third period he just showed his true colors and what he can do when he decides to play the way he can," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "He's got good speed and 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. So it's nice to see him get rewarded with the things that he needs to do, so hopefully that encourages him to do a little bit more."
Drew Stafford gave the Sabres a 1-0 lead when he scored on a power play, his first goal of the season, at 5:12 of the second period. Stafford was parked in the slot to the right of Bruins goalie Niklas Svedberg when Tyler Ennis skated around the side of the net and found Stafford alone for the unchallenged wrist shot. The power-play goal snapped an 0-for-33 streak to start the season.
"That's something you need to take pride in," Stafford said. "It's just embarrassing, unacceptable to go 0-for-this-long."
The Bruins tied the game 1-1 with 8:24 left in the second period when McQuaid scored his first goal since Oct. 19, 2013. McQuaid received a pass from forward Carl Soderberg and took a wrist shot at the top of the faceoff circle to the left of Enroth. The puck glanced off Sabres defenseman Mike Weber's hand past Enroth.
"I always say, anytime I chip in with the offense it feels good to add a little something different than I normally do," McQuaid said. "It's always nice to see a puck go in like that. … Goalies in this league are good enough in this league that if they can see it, they're most likely going to stop it."
Ennis gave the Sabres a 2-1 lead with 3:35 to play in the second period. He took a pass from Torrey Mitchell on a 2-on-1 break against Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg and snapped a wrist shot past Svedberg for his fourth goal of the season.
"It was good to get a point against Boston," Ennis said. "We wanted two points, but [we've] got to stay positive."
Enroth made 34 saves; Svedberg made 13. The Bruins had 61 shot attempts to the Sabres' 35.
"I thought we played pretty well for three periods and kept them to the outside, didn't give up too much," Enroth said. "What happened in overtime, that's why we're a bad team right now."
Bruins defenseman Joe Morrow made his NHL debut Thursday. He was called up from Providence of the American Hockey League on Wednesday after defenseman Torey Krug was placed on injured reserve with a broken finger. Morrow joined rookie defensemen Zach Trotman and David Warsofsky in the lineup in place of injured Zdeno Chara (knee) and Kevan Miller (shoulder).
"I thought [Morrow] played well," Julien said. "I said about our game tonight, we had to improve on our breakouts, and a lot of that starts with our back end, and I thought our defense did a pretty good job of our breakouts tonight, and that includes those young guys that came in."