The Calgary Flames came into Buffalo hoping to find consistency, puck possession, and a win. They found all three of those things in a very one-sided 5-0 victory over the Sabres on Thursday night.
The win gives the Flames a 2-1-2 record through the first five games of their seven game road trip.

The rundown

The Flames got oodles of good scoring chances in the opening period, but they opened the scoring off a gorgeous pass by Matthew Tkachuk to spring Johnny Gaudreau on an almost-breakaway. Gaudreau received the pass and held off the defender long enough to beat Dustin Tokarski with a quick shot to give the Flames a 1-0 lead.
Shots were 14-8 Flames (all at five-on-five) and scoring chances 9-3 Flames in the first period.
Advertisement
Ad
The floodgates opened for the Flames in the second period.
First, Chris Tanev made a heads up pass to Andrew Mangiapane, who chipped the puck at the net. It bounced off Tokarski’s glove and into the net to make it 2-0 Flames.
The Flames had a power play that was fairly blah: they just couldn’t really set up in the Sabres zone. But with the PP winding down, Gaudreau, Tkachuk and Elias Lindholm executed a nifty passing play that ended with a wrist shot by Tkachuk beating Tokarski to make it 3-0 Flames, just four seconds after the PP expired.
A little later, a smart Nikita Zadorov pass sprang Mikael Backlund and Mangiapane on a two-on-one, ending with Backlund setting up Mangiapane with an easy tap-in to make it 4-0.
Advertisement
Ad
Finally, the Flames capped it off with a power play goal. A nice passing sequence ended with Sean Monahan executing a cross-crease pass to Gaudreau for a quick redirect that made it 5-0 Flames.
Shots were 9-7 Flames (7-4 Flames at five-on-five) and scoring chances 7-3 Flames in the second period.
The Flames played a smart game in the third period and tried to get Mangiapane a third goal, but couldn’t. Shot were 11-10 Sabres (all at five-on-five) and scoring chances 8-7 Sabres in the third period.

Why the Flames won

The Flames were clearly the better team. Buffalo is a team with some deficiencies, but the Flames did a really nice job playing their own game, making smart plays, and repeatedly punishing Buffalo for their shortcomings.
Advertisement
Ad

Red Warrior

Mangiapane had two goals (and tons of chances for a third) so he gets the nod here.
But a lot of players wearing red and white looked good. Gaudreau and Tkachuk each had three points, Tanev had two assists, and lots of supporting players made smart plays at key times. Oh, and nobody scored on Jacob Markström. At all.

The turning point

The Flames scored three goals in the second period in a span of just over a minute and a half. This game went from being one-sided to being a drubbing in that span, and the Sabres seemed to lose all their steam after that point.

The numbers

Data via Natural Stat Trick. Percentage stats are 5v5.
Expected
Goals For%
O-Zone
Face-Off%
Game
Score
Backlund
71.7
42.9
2.65
Coleman
71.7
42.9
1.84
Mangiapane
65.9
42.9
3.65
Richardson
62.6
85.7
0.44
Gudbranson
61.1
88.9
1.46
Lucic
60.7
85.7
0.38
Lewis
60.7
85.7
0.45
Hanifin
57.5
62.5
1.01
Dube
56.6
100
0.34
Monahan
56.6
100
1.04
Tanev
55.0
37.5
2.94
Zadorov
54.2
88.9
2.11
Kylington
52.8
37.5
2.09
Andersson
48.8
62.5
1.02
Tkachuk
43.5
42.9
3.52
Pitlick
43.2
100
0.21
Gaudreau
35.4
42.9
3.28
Lindholm
33.0
42.9
1.52
Markström
1.69
Vladar

This and that

Gaudreau’s first assist of this game broke a three-way tie between him, Paul Reinhart and Guy Chouinard for sixth all-time in Flames franchise history in assists.
Advertisement
Ad
There was no announced attendance in Buffalo, but the crowd was tiny.

Up next

The Flames (9-3-5) are off to Long Island! They’ll face the New York Islanders in the first-ever game at the brand-new UBS Arena on Saturday night.

THIS ARTICLE BROUGHT TO YOU BY DAILYFACEOFF

Looking to up your fantasy hockey game? DailyFaceoff has the tools you need for both daily and season-long fantasy leagues, including a lineup optimizer, daily projections, and a whole lot more. Sign up for the DailyFaceoff tools here.