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Preview: Calgary Flames vs Buffalo Sabres 1/22/18 (47/82): Flames Look To Get A “W” Against The NHL’s Worst

The struggling Sabres visit the Saddledome tonight for their only visit of the season.

Buffalo Sabres v Calgary Flames Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images

Calgary Flames vs Buffalo Sabres, 7 PM MT, Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary AB

Where To Watch & Listen

Radio: Sportsnet 960

Is there such thing as a sure thing? If there isn’t, this game could be as close as it gets. The Flames will welcome the NHL’s worst squad in the Buffalo Sabres Monday night and after Saturday’s frustrating loss to Winnipeg, the Sabres are a sight for sore eyes.

The Flames saw their winning streak stopped at 7 thanks in part to Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck and the Flames own stagnant offence (a goal wiped off the board didn’t help either). Calgary failed to score 3 or more times for the first time in 7 games. Mike Smith was his normal show stopping self, but the team in front of him did the keeper no favours.

Calgary still owns a playoff spot at this point in the season, but they’ll need to get back on the winning track because the rest of this week won’t be easy. The Flames finish up with the Kings and the Oilers, so an “easier” game against Buffalo should be just what the doctor ordered.

Is Buffalo really that bad? Yes. The Sabres own the league’s worst record at 11-26-9. They are second to last in the NHL in PP%. Their goal differential on the season is a league worst -59. That’s a real stat. -59.

Buffalo is 1-6-1 in the month of January, part of that record was due to a 5 game losing streak, their 3rd of 5 games or more this season. The Sabres have given up 36 goals in 8 games this month, while only scoring 19 times. Robin Lehner is 0-4-1 this month. Chad Johnson is 0-2-0. The only Buffalo win in January belongs to.....Linus Ullmark

The news doesn’t get much better for the Sabres as they pull into the Saddledome. Calgary has won 7 in a row at home against Buffalo and overall 9 out of the last 10.

How They Match Up

Calgary Flames Stats Buffalo Sabres
Calgary Flames Stats Buffalo Sabres
25-16-5 Record 11-26-9
55 Points 31
3rd Pacific Division 8th Atlantic
8th West Conference 16th East
4-0-1 Last 5 1-4-0
130 Goals For 103
124 Goals Against 161
Monahan (21) Goals Eichel (18)
Gaudreau (54) Points Eichel (44)
Brouwer (49) PIM Nolan (50)
Rittich (.932) Save% Lehner (.907)
17.9 (20th) PP% 14.3 (30th)
80.1 (18th) PK% 78.3(24th)
0-0-0 2017-18 VS 0-0-0
38-51-16 Overall VS 51-38-16

Starting Goalies (E=Expected,C=Confirmed)

Player Record GAA Save%
Player Record GAA Save%
Flames: Smith (E) 20-13-4 2.42 .925
Sabres: Lehner (E) 9-18-6 3.05 .907

What’s Happening With The Opposition?

Buffalo Sabres Coverage: Die By The Blade

Last Time Out

Calgary Flames 1 Winnipeg Jets 2 (SO)

The Flames came back from the 5 day break and looked rather flat. The Flames offence fell short, but Mike Smith looked like he didn’t miss a beat, stopping 38 of the 39 shots that came his way. Here’s our recap and the highlights from

Buffalo Sabres 1 Dallas Stars 7

The Sabres played their final game at home before a 4 game road trip and they let the Dallas Stars hang 7 on them Saturday. Robin Lehner gave up 4 goals on 15 shots and Chad Johnson fared no better, giving up 3 goals on 13 shots. Die By The Blade has the recap and provides the highlights.

Players To Watch

Calgary Flames

Calgary Flames v Carolina Hurricanes Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images

Brett Kulak (D). Kulak is waaaaaaaaay overdue. The young Flames defenceman has earned his role with the big club due to his steady play on the Flames blue line. As a member of the Flames bottom D pairing he averages a little over 12 minutes of ATOI and is a +7, but he’s been snake bitten when it comes to scoring. He has 4 assists this season, but he’s still looking for his first NHL goal. He has 6 SOG in his last 5, which for a bottom pairing defenceman isn’t bad. Maybe Buffalo will be what he needs to get that first goal.

Buffalo Sabres

Columbus Blue Jackets v Buffalo Sabres Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images

Jack Eichel (C). Eichel seems like the easy choice, but he’s been the hottest player on a struggling team. Eichel leads the team in goals (18) and points (44) and he’s been playing really good hockey lately. In his last 5 contests he has 9 points. Eichel has also played well on the road for Buffalo. In 25 road games so far this season, the Chelmsford Massachusetts product has 24 of his 44 points.