Calgary Flames 2 Buffalo Sabres 1 (OT)
Well, they always say it was worth the wait and last night was no exception. The Flames waited until the 19:04 of the 3rd period to score their first goal and got the game winner in OT just as the extra frame was winding down to defeat the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 Tuesday night.
Now while that first paragraph reads like this was a game for the ages, it really wasn’t. Neither team could gain any traction early and truth be told, it was very sloppy for most of the game. Each team took turns turning the puck over leading to rushes that were stymied by spectacular goaltending at each end. Carter Hutton was an absolute brick wall in net for Buffalo, stopping 36 of the 38 shots that came his way. Not to be outdone was David Rittich. Rittich (28-29) didn’t face the shot volume that Hutton did, but Buffalo’s 3rd period flurry tested the Flames netminder, especially in the final minute of regulation.
Calgary’s PP was, again, nothing to write home about, but the top PP unit provided the Flames with multiple chances to score throughout the night. The 2nd unit was the buzzkill. This grouping has struggled mightily and contributed heavily to Calgary’s 0-5 with the man advantage.
With all the turnovers, sloppy passing and man up troubles, the Flames finally found a way to crack Hutton, a goalie who had given up 13 goals in his last 3 losses prior to Tuesday night. At 19:04 of the 3rd period Matthew Tkachuk would tip home an Elias Lindholm shot to get the Flames the equalizer that has eluded them for the prior 59 minutes. The Flames would have to fight off a 4 on 3 in OT due to a Matthew Tkachuk penalty and Mark Giordano would find Johnny Gaudreau to send the Flames to their 7th win of the season.
3rd: Tkachuk (5) (Lindholm/Monahan)
OT: Gaudreau (6) (GIordano/Monahan)
1st: Eichel (4) (Pomminville)
The Flames didn’t play their best game all around, but managed to pull this one out and that’s what good team do. David Rittich once again showed that while Mike Smith is the #1, he’s knocking on the door and growing with each opportunity to play. The Flames top line of Monahan-Gaudreau-Lindholm was the best line on the ice all night and their PP opportunities were solid as well. It’s always good to see your top line dominate because that’s what you pay them for, but others are going to need to contribute sooner rather than later.
Defensively the Flames were VERY solid tonight. T. J. Brodie (yes, that T.J. Brodie) was solid in the offensive end and had a few key blocks, Rasmus Andersson had a hand in the Flames game tying goal and Mark Giordano doesn’t appear to age. The Flames blue liners were top notch and one of the reasons this game was able to get to OT.
Flame Of The Game
Sean Monahan (C). Monahan had 2 assists on the night and if it weren’t for Carter Hutton he probably would have had a hat trick. He was tied for the team lead in SOG with 5 and just didn’t have the puck luck he needed to find the back of the net.
11/1: Calgary Flames vs Colorado Avalanche 7 PM MT