(Timothy T. Ludwig / USA Today Sports)
We love HOME games; have Liquor Depot deliver in under an hour. Click, pick, sit back and watch the game.
Less than 24 hours after knocking off the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena, the Calgary Flames are back at it in the second game of their season-high six game road trip. Tonight’s opponent? The Buffalo Sabres, who remain without some of their top players due to a slew of injuries.
Tonight’s action kicks off early! It’s a 5 p.m. MT start on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan!
Lines via Daily Faceoff:
After four straight Chad Johnson starts, Brian Elliott is back tonight. He’s been the lesser of Calgary’s two goalies this season; he has fewer wins, a worse goals against average and a much-worse even strength save percentage than Johnson. But he’s got a reputation as a highly competitive guy, so he’ll be pretty motivated tonight.
Other than the goalie swap, no changes are expected for the Flames tonight (though Derek Wills speculated on Twitter that Jyrki Jokipakka could rotate back in tonight, so keep an eye on that). They’re still missing Johnny Gaudreau, Lance Bouma, Kris Versteeg & Ladislav Smid. Versteeg won’t return tonight, but the reports from the rink are that he’s expected to return on Wednesday in Columbus.
Aside from not scoring a power play goal, the Flames were good once again against Detroit. That makes four solid efforts in a row, which is hopefully an indication that they’ve turned a corner. They’ll need to continue to play a smart, structured game against a rested Buffalo team.
Lines courtesy Daily Faceoff:
After Anders Nilsson got peppered with shots in a shootout win over the Penguins on Saturday night, Robin Lehner returns to the net. Lehner’s the better of the two goalies but has struggled with consistency at times this season.
The Sabres are missing Jack Eichel, Masterton nominee Ryan O’Reilly, Zach Bogosian, Nicolas Deslauriers, Hudson Fasching and Dmitry Kulikov. O’Reilly and Eichel are getting closer to returns but aren’t ready yet, so for the second consecutive night the Flames face a team that’s having their depth tested quite a bit early in the season.
The Flames have just one win at the KeyBank Center (formerly Marine Mindland Arena, HSBC Arena and First Niagara Arena) in 12 visits, which is a bit odd considering the Sabres haven’t exactly been a powerhouse team during their tenure in that rink. Calgary is 1-7-4 in Buffalo since they moved to the new building.
This is the 105th meeting between the Flames and Buffalo, with the local sports club boasting a 38-47-19 record against the Sabres. This is the second and final meeting between these teams this season, with Calgary seeking a clean sweep after beating Buffalo 4-3 at home back in October.
KNOW THY ENEMY
Some Sabres follows for y’all tonight:
SUM IT UP
The Flames have played four sets of back-to-backs so far this season. They’ve lost both sides of the pairing twice, and they’ve won both sides of the pairing twice. Can the Flames keep their winning ways going on back-to-backs? We’ll find out later tonight in Buffalo.