29Noah Hanifin
Photo Credit: Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports

Post-Game: Flames grind out a point against Buffalo

The Calgary Flames weren’t great on Wednesday evening at the Scotiabank Saddledome. They played a fast, desperate Buffalo Sabres squad. But the Flames managed to eke out a point, losing 4-3 in overtime in a game they probably could’ve lost by a few goals.

The Rundown

The Sabres were full of pep to open this game. Jack Eichel got a breakaway and hit the post 19 seconds into the period. He had another golden chance in the first period from the slot, but missed the net.

The Flames opened the scoring late in the period off a power play. They drew a penalty with 48 seconds left in the period and were generally not great, but Elias Lindholm broke into the zone with the clock winding down and his shot rebounded to Johnny Gaudreau, who buried it with one second remaining to give the Flames a 1-0 lead.

Shots were 13-11 Flames in the first, but scoring chances were 10-3 Sabres.

The Flames were better in the second period, but made a few key gaffes that led to Buffalo tying the game. After a good penalty kill, the top line and top pairing got some extended zone time in the Sabres end and some scoring chances. But Casey Mittelstadt sprung a pass to Evan Rodrigues (who snuck behind the defense) and Rodrigues beat David Rittich five-hole on the ensuing breakaway to make it a 1-1 hockey game.

Shots were 9-8 Sabres in the second, with chances 8-6 Flames.

The Flames took the lead midway through the third with another power play goal. Some nice cross-ice passing allowed Lindholm to bank the puck in off Matthew Tkachuk’s stick, parked at the top of the crease. That made it 2-1 Flames.

But the Sabres tied it up a little bit later. Rasmus Dahlin’s point shot deflected off Michael Frolik, knuckle-balled, and beat Rittich to make it 2-2.

The Sabres took the lead a few minutes later, as Lindholm coughed the puck up in the Flames’ zone and Jake McCabe’s wrist shot found a way through traffic (and Rittich) to make it 3-2 Buffalo.

But Flames tied things up, as Lindholm parked himself in front of Ullmark and Noah Hanifin’s shot from the point found a way through traffic to make it 3-3.

Shots were 12-2 Flames (and both Buffalo shots went in) and scoring chances 9-1 Flames.

The Flames had an early look, but couldn’t bury it. Eichel scored off the rush in overtime to make it a 4-3 Sabres win.

Why the Flames Got A Point

The Flames weren’t great on this occasion. They gave up a lot of chances off the rush, and you could say they were guilty of being both a bit too casual defensively and a bit too cute offensively. It also doesn’t help that Ullmark was very strong in net for the Sabres.

Their power play was good, though, and it was good enough for them to get a point.

Red Warrior

The two best players on the ice were the two goaltenders. Rittich was sharp frequently, especially early on as the Flames tried to find their legs defensively.

He wasn’t perfect, mind you, but he gave his team a chance.

The Turning Point

The pair of Buffalo goals in the third period were a result of some iffy Flames defensive play, and led to them chasing late in the game. When you’re a division-leading team and have a 2-1 lead with just over half a period left, you have to figure out how to lock things down. The Flames couldn’t quite do that.

The Numbers

(Percentage stats are 5-on-5, data via Corsica.Hockey)

Player Corsi
Czarnik 76.9 83.3 0.350
Jankowski 75.0 83.3 0.990
Bennett 64.7 83.3 0.525
Kylington 62.5 100 0.425
Giordano 60.5 45.5 0.900
Brodie 60.5 45.5 0.225
Andersson 60.0 50.0 0.925
Ryan 58.3 33.3 0.070
Prout 57.7 90.0 0.350
Gaudreau 57.6 77.8 1.750
Tkachuk 57.1 50.0 1.235
Monahan 54.8 77.8 1.220
Lindholm 54.6 87.5 1.730
Backlund 53.3 50.0 -0.055
Frolik 53.1 50.0 0.335
Mangiapane 50.0 28.6 0.000
Hathaway 45.5 33.3 0.210
Hanifin 44.8 40.0 0.850
Rittich -1.100

This and That

This was Derek Ryan’s 200th NHL game.

The Flames are now 23-1-3 when entering the third period leading or tied.

Up Next

The Flames (30-13-5) practice tomorrow. They host the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night.

  • The Sultan

    Not sure I agree with Rittich being the Red Warrior. He had a sloppy game by his standards. The Sabres had 3 shots in all of the 3rd period and OT and they all went in.

  • Mickey O'Reaves

    File under: sometimes you just lose.
    Their goalie was great, posts 3-2 the Flames way, fluky second goal by Buffalo, questionable defending by the Flames, no lucky bounces, a three-on-one in OT that should have ended it.
    Calgary still managed to get a point. But sometimes you just lose. It happens.

    • FLT

      I’d rather see the puck on his stick than anyone else in that situation; I’m inclined to give him a pass on that one. Sometimes there’s just nothing there.

    • Porcupine at a balloon party

      I thought our 3rd period was really strong (of course it was). Couple minor defensive lapses that ended in net. Not rittichs best performance, but I think he’s earned benefit of doubt. I don’t think Smith would be the red Warrior if he allowed last 3 shots of game to go in

  • Heeeeeere’s Johnny

    Lets get ready for the peanut gallery and arm chair GM’s with all their ideas of what went wrong, trades that must happen, whos to blame, and so on. It is just a loss, an overtime loss where there was still 1 point earned.

    • Toma41

      Relax hero. Its a forum made for people to come on and share their opinions. Whether you agree with it or not, it doesn’t matter. Who would read the forum or write in it if people didn’t come on to share their thoughts? Hero.

    • Heeeeere’s Johnny

      Just to be clear. This is the Johnny come lately sixee version of this avatar, not the one who has been here all along. You can tell the real Johnny by 5 consecutive e’s. Not complaining, just making sure that his/her takes are his/her takes and my takes are mine.

    • Cfan in Van

      If you don’t want to count eeeee’s to see if it’s the clown imposters post, you can look to the right side of the avatar pic. The real Johnny uses a pic that is slightly less zoomed, and you can see some space to the right of the glass stanchion. The imposters pic ends at the stanchion on the right.

  • Harley Hotchkiss’s Ghost

    Ullmark stole the game with thee or four absolutely highway robbery saves, plus they scored some fluky goals. Got one point, time to move on.

  • MOlson

    Here we go again for the second time this year against the Oilers; they get 2 days off and the Flames travel there off a home/away back to back. Tough games, SJ beat Pitt Tues at home, travels to AZ tonite and gets smoked. I’m amazed that the league in this age of computing power can’t come up with a schedule permutation that balances this out. (https://oilersnation.com/2018/07/10/the-oilers-have-the-easiest-schedule-in-the-league-next-year/). 18 times this year the oilers play a tired team vs 8 games where they are the tired team, can call that a +10; Flames are +2, Vancouver got totally hosed at -8. (Vancouver has 1 less point than Edmonton in the standings, haha)

  • Scoring_guru

    I am trying to understand why we are paying Backlund 5.35 million a year? Yes I know he is a defensive specialist, but he seems complacent on the ice and takes some ridiculous penalties that you cant defend.

      • Speed Kills

        Monahan had a Very off night, One of those games where it just seemed like everything he tried would backfire or would just have the opposite effect as to what he was trying to do. Actually, it kinda looked that way for quite a few of the Flames tonight, but Mony’s gaffs really stood out. Take the point, shower up and go to bed, start a new in the morning.

    • PasstheDube

      I’ll admit 3 goals on 3 shots doesn’t look good, but I don’t know which of those 3 you can blame on him. A fluky deflection, a shot that he didn’t even see due to being completely screened, or Eichel’s OT winner (that guy is really becoming the player The Sabres we’re hoping for).