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Preview: Calgary Flames vs Buffalo Sabres 10/18/2016 (4/82)

Calgary welcomes Buffalo to the Saddledome for their annual visit with hopes of getting their first W of the season.

Calgary Flames v Buffalo Sabres Photo by Jen Fuller/Getty Images

Buffalo Sabres @ Calgary Flames, 7 PM MT, Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary, Alberta


Broadcast Schedule
TV: RSNF, MSG Buffalo
Radio: Sportsnet 960

The Calgary Flames welcome the Buffalo Sabres to the Dome tonight for the second game of their 3 game Western Conference swing. The Flames have had good success against the Sabres in Calgary, owning a 23-18-11 record when playing at home. Last year these two teams split, going 1-1, each winning in their respective buildings. Buffalo is leading the league on the PK (100%) and the Flames are floundering in 20th place in the league on the PP at 10%, but the good news is Calgary’s PK is getting better and Buffalo isn’t setting the world on fire with the power play.

The Flames come into this game at 0-2-1 and are lucky to have that one point. They were dominated in their first two games by Edmonton and then, thanks to a Loui Eriksson gaffe, found themselves in OT/SO where they had no business being. Chad Johnson started in Vancouver and gave Calgary the best goaltending they’ve had on the young season. The former Sabres netminder stopped 30 of 31 in regulation before finally giving up the game winner in a shootout. Calgary mustered little to no offence in that game, but the defence played much better in the loss.

Buffalo meanwhile comes into this contest having just taken it to the Oilers during a 6-2 win. Ryan O’Reilly had a 4 point night as Buffalo picked up their first win on the season and they held Connor McDavid pointless for the game. This should be slightly concerning for the Flames seeing in two games against the Oilers they scored 7 goals while giving up 12. Not a good mix. But if the Flames want to look at the bright side, they are 4-0-0 when playing Buffalo in Calgary since 2000 and have averaged 2.2 more goals a game than the Sabres (4.0-1.8). Here’s how the teams match up:

Tale of The Tape
Calgary Flames
Buffalo Sabres
0-2-1 Record 1-1-0
1 Points 2
6th Pacific Division 7th Atlantic
4th West (2 way tie) Conference 4th East (4 way tie)
N/A Last 10 N/A
8 Goals For 7
13 Goals Against 6
Frolik (2) Goals O'Reilly (2)
Backlund (3) Points O'Reilly (4)
Johnson (.968%) SV % Lehner (.895%)
10% (20th) PP % 27.3% (11th)
78.6% (19th) PK % 100% (2nd)

Calgary Flames 1 Vancouver Canucks 2 (SO)

The Flames last skated on Saturday night at Vancouver and improbably, this game went to a shootout. Calgary mustered only 25 shots on goal and never found the back of the net. Calgary’s lone “goal” came on a delayed penalty where Ryan Miller already had left the ice and Loui Eriksson cleared the puck back into his own end where no one was waiting and put the puck in his own net. That’s the kind of game it was for the Flames. Overtime didn’t solve anything and on Vancouver’s 4th attempt in the shootout, Brandon Sutter beat Chad Johnson to end the game. Here’s the highlights.

Flames Stats vs Vancouver 10/15/2016
Goals Shots Shots Allowed Hits FOW PIM Giveaways Takeaways PP PK
1 25 31 15 30 10 8 5 0/2 4/4

Buffalo Sabres 6 Edmonton Oilers 2

The Sabres chased Cam Talbot from the game after putting 23 shots on net and 6 of them finding the back. Ryan O’Reilly set the pace for Buffalo with 2 goals and 2 assists, while Robin Lehner stopped 31 of 33 shots to get the win. Buffalo found the magic elixir and held Connor McDavid to 1 shot in 18+ minutes of ice time. Here are the highlights.

Starting Goalies
Player Record GAA Save %
Calgary: Chad Johnson 0-0-1 0.92 .968
Buffalo: Robin Lehner 1-1-0 3.05 .895

Players To Watch

Calgary Flames: Chad Johnson (G). The Sabres former netminder will get his second start of the regular season Tuesday night. Johnson had a rough preseason, but looked very comfortable in the Flames 2-1 SO loss to the Canucks. Calgary has had 2 days off between these games and it’s interesting to see the Flames going right back to Johnson instead of Elliott. This could be nothing more than giving the “hot hand” another start in net, but it could be something to keep an eye on if Johnson plays solid in his next few starts.

Buffalo Sabres: Rasmus Ristolainen (D). Ristolainen is tied for the top spot on the Sabres with 4 points, all of them assists and he leads them in ATOI with 25:00. The young Fin also isn’t afraid to put his body in front of the puck either. He has 5 blocked shots in 2 games so far this season which is also tops for the Sabres and he was 2nd on the team with 137 last year.