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Calgary Flames Post-Game: The Sabres win the final Warrener Bowl of 2023-24

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
22 days ago
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The Calgary Flames and Buffalo Sabres played a low-scoring, fairly low-event hockey game on Sunday night. Both sides had looks. Neither side really displayed a high level of finishing ability.
The Sabres managed to grind out one more goal than the Flames, aside from empty-netters, en route to a 4-1 road victory.

The rundown

The opening period was fairly even, with the Sabres doing a nice job of using their speed to get chances.
Five minutes into the period, the Sabres opened the scoring. Off a rush play, Peyton Krebs skated into the Flames’ zone and fired a wrister that beat Dustin Wolf glove-side to make it 1-0 Buffalo.
Both teams had their chances in the remainder of the period, but the Sabres held onto their slim lead.
First period shots were 11-11 (all five-on-five) and, via Natural Stat Trick, five-on-five scoring chances were 10-8 Flames (high-dangers were 3-3).
The Flames kept pushing in the second period and drew even midway through the frame off a power play and a fortuitous bounce.
After Brayden Pachal drew a minor, the Flames went to work in the offensive zone. Jonathan Huberdeau attempted a cross-crease pass to find Andrei Kuzmenko at the far side for a back-door redirection. Sabres defender Owen Power attempted to block the pass with his stick, inadvertently redirecting the puck between the pads of netminder Ukka-Pekka Luukkonen to tie the game up at 1-1.
Second period shots were 10-9 Flames (9-7 Flames at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 8-8 (high-dangers were 4-3 Flames).
The teams both had looks in the third period, but the Sabres managed to cash in first.
Off a dump-in play, the Sabres forechecked well for the retrieval, with Alex Tuch stripping Daniil Miromanov of the puck below the goal line, leading to Tage Thompson feeding J.J. Peterka in front of the Flames net. His quick shot beat Wolf to give the visitors a 2-1 lead.
Thompson and Connor Clifton added late empty-netters and the Sabres held on for the 4-1 victory.
Third period shots were 12-10 Flames (8-4 Sabres at five-on-five) and five-on-five scoring chances were 8-7 Flames (high-dangers were 5-0 Sabres).

Why the Flames lost

If you look at the overall shape of the Flames’ game, they sure had the puck a lot. The big challenge was what they did with it. They couldn’t turn their zone time into dangerous scoring chances, and Buffalo’s netminder saw a lot of the shots against him fairly cleanly. And again, like in Vancouver, the Flames just didn’t manage the puck effectively enough in all three zones.
The shape of the Flames’ game were good, but they just couldn’t do enough dangerous things with the puck to get a better result on this occasion.
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Red Warrior

Let’s give it to Wolf. He was quite good overall in this outing, aside from that first goal from Krebs.

Turning point

The Sabres go-ahead goal was the obvious tipping point in this one.

This and that

Before the anthems, the Flames had a tribute video and a moment of silence in memory of the late Chris Simon.
The Flames remain winless in the second half of back-to-back sets in 2023-24, posting an 0-6-1 record thus far.

Up next

The Flames (33-32-5) are headed back on the road. They’re off to the Windy City, where they’ll face Connor Bedard and the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night at the United Centre.

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