131

FGD 13: Ah, scenic Buffalo (5pm MT, SN West)

Just 21 hours after a pretty complete effort in Toronto, the Calgary Flames (6-5-1, 13 points) trek south across the border to visit the Buffalo Sabres (6-4-1, 13 points). The National Hockey League’s doormat last season, the Sabres are young, fast and fun.

The action starts at 5 p.m. MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan.

The Flames

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Gaudreau – Monahan – Lindholm
Tkachuk – Backlund – Frolik
Bennett – Jankowski – Neal
Hathaway – Ryan – Dube

Giordano – Brodie
Hanifin – Hamonic

Valimaki – Andersson

David Rittich makes his fourth start of the season, backed up by Mike Smith. Rittich has had three strong outings thus far this season. The Flames have indicated that they won’t make any changes for tonight’s game.

The key for the Flames tonight? More of the same. Since their 9-1 shellacking at the hands of the Penguins, they’ve put together two tight defensive games against two pretty impressive Eastern Conference offensive powers in the Capitals and Maple Leafs. If they can keep the defensive game bottled up consistently, they could become a team to watch in the Western Conference.

The Sabres

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Skinner – Eichel – Pominville
Sheary – Sobotka – Reinhart
Thompson – Mittelstadt – Okposo
Berglund – Larsson – Girgensons

McCabe – Ristolainen
Scandella – Bogosian
Dahlin – Nelson

Carter Hutton starts for the Sabres, backed up by Linus Ullmark. Remi Elie and Evan Rodrogues are Buffalo’s healthy extra forwards.

The Sabres are a poor man’s Leafs, and that’s meant as a compliment. They have a good, if untested, starter in Hutton. They have some good veterans and a slew of young, exciting plays like Casey Mittelstadt and Rasmus Dahlin. They’re a year or two away from being a team of note in the East, but for now they’re just young, fast and fun to watch.

The Numbers

CGY BUF
Wins 6 6
Points 13 13
Corsi Close 53.0% 49.3%
Power Play 16.7% 20.6%
Penalty Kill 71.4% 75.8%

Injury Report

The Flames are healthy.

The Sabres are without Nathan Beaulieu (undisclosed) and Scott Wilson (ankle).

History Lesson

This is the first of two games between these teams in 2018-19. The Sabres head to Calgary in mid-January.

Know Thy Enemy

Your Sabres Twitter follows for tonight: