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Preview: Calgary Flames @ Buffalo Sabres 3/7/18 (68/82): Buffalo Has Been a Black Hole For The Flames

Calgary will look to snap a 4 game losing streak in a place where they have had little success.

NHL: Calgary Flames at Buffalo Sabres Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Calgary Flames @ Buffalo Sabres, 5:30 PM MT, KeyBank Center, Buffalo NY

Where To Watch & Listen

Radio: Sportsnet 960

Game two of a three game road trip sees the Flames make a pit stop in Buffalo to take on the Sabres. Calgary and Buffalo might be two of the coldest teams in the league. Calgary had lost 4 in a row and 9 of their last 13 and the playoffs are starting to look like a pipe dream. Calgary is 3 points out of the final WC spot in the West, which doesn’t seem beyond reach, but the teams the Flames are chasing are staying just out of reach.

The good news for the Flames is that Mike Smith was skating with the team on Tuesday, but there’s no timetable on the Flames MVP’s return. David Rittich and Jon Gillies have struggled in Smith’s absence in the starters role, yet it’s not totally their fault. The Flames haven’t played well in front of either of them and both aren’t ready to assume the full time starters role.

Buffalo comes into this epic battle having won 5 times in their last 10. While that might not seem like much to write home about, Buffalo started the month losing 4 of their first 6. For the second straight season Jack Eichel’s health is taking centre stage for the Sabres. The 21 year old leads the team in points with 53, but he’s only been on the ice for 55 games this year. Eichel started skating again this weekend, but his status in regards to his ankle sprain is unknown.

Buffalo took the first meeting between these two teams 2-1 in OT in a fight filled mess back on January 22nd. Chad Johnson bested his old team with a 32 save performance giving Buffalo their first win in Calgary in 7 tries. Buffalo hasn’t been a place the Flames have had much success lately as they have lost 11 of their last 12 in Buffalo, including 4 in a row.

How They Match Up

Calgary Flames Stats Buffalo Sabres
Calgary Flames Stats Buffalo Sabres
32-26-9 Record 21-34-11
73 Points 53
5th Pacific Division 8th Atlantic
11th West Conference 16th East
1-3-1 Last 5 3-2-0
188 Goals For 159
199 Goals Against 214
Monahan (29) Goals Eichel (22)
Gaudreau (74) Points Eichel (53)
Backlund (72) PIM Nolan (61)
Smith (.921) Save% Lehner (.909)
17.8 (24th) PP% 17.5 (25th)
80.6 (15th) PK% 78.9 (21st)
0-0-1 2017-18 VS 1-0-0
38-52-16 Overall VS 52-38-16

Starting Goalies (E=Expected,C=Confirmed)

Player Record GAA Save%
Player Record GAA Save%
Flames: Rittich (E) 6-5-3 3.11 .900
Sabres: Johnson ( C ) 7-10-3 3.17 .898

What’s Happening With The Opposition?

Buffalo Sabres Coverage: Die By The Blade

Last Time Out

Calgary Flames 3 Pittsburgh Penguins 4 (OT)

The Flames were able to wrangle a point out of a tough Penguins team by losing 4-3 in OT Monday night. Calgary hung tough with one of the league’s better teams, but in the WC race 1 point just isn’t going to cut it. Here’s our recap and the highlights from

Buffalo Sabres 5 Toronto Maple Leafs 3

The Sabres last took the ice on Monday and took down the surging Maple Leafs 5-3. Buffalo got a 38 save performance from Chad Johnson and got a multi point night from Sam Reinhart in the win. Die By The Blade has the recap and provides the highlights.

Players To Watch

Calgary Flames

NHL: Calgary Flames at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Mikael Backlund (C). The Flames centre, even though they have been losing, has been one of the players that has kept the machine running. Backlund had a goal in the Flames 4-3 OT loss to Pittsburgh giving him 6 points in his last 5 games. He came up empty in the Flames and Sabres meeting earlier this season, but he has 21 points in the Flames 34 road games.

Buffalo Sabres

NHL: Boston Bruins at Buffalo Sabres Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Chad Johnson (G). Johnson will get his second straight start for Buffalo and he’s won 3 in a row. He’s only given up 5 goals in those 3 starts, including wins over the Bruins and Maple Leafs. Johnson beat his old mates earlier this season when Buffalo defeated the Flames 2-1 back in November.