Flames hold on to beat the Sabres, 4-3

Buffalo allows four unanswered goals after an early lead

Kyle Powell
December 05, 2019 - 8:46 pm

Photo: Candice Ward - USA TODAY Sports


Though an early goal from Sam Reinhart offered hope of a victory on the road, the Buffalo Sabres were taken down on Thursday by the Calgary Flames, 4-3 at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta.

Reinhart got the scoring started 3:29 into the opening period as the Buffalo forward deflected a point shot from defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen that found its way behind Flames netminder David Rittich. The goal snapped a four-game goalless drought for Reinhart, as it was his first goal since Nov. 25 in a loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Calgary evened the score at 1-1 before the end of the period as Flames superstar Johnny Gaudreau netted his sixth goal of the season with seconds left in a power play opportunity. Buffalo goalie Linus Ullmark had no chance on the shot, as Gaudreau wired a puck from the left circle off the crossbar and past his glove. Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian was also providing an unintentional screen in front of Ullmark as he tried to get in front of the shot.

Midway into the second period, the Flames took their first lead of the game with a shorthanded tally for Flames forward Tobias Rieder. With the Sabres on their fourth power play of the night, Calgary forward Derek Ryan blocked a shot at the blue line off the stick of defenseman Henri Jokiharju. Ryan shoveled the puck to a streaking Rieder, who slid his shot through the five-hole of Ullmark for scored his second goal of the season in his 400th NHL game.

The Flames extended their lead to two goals when forward Sean Monahan struck for his seventh goal of the season with just over five minutes left in the period. Monahan played give-and-go with forward Mikael Backlund in the Buffalo end, and he one-timed a shot from the circle past Ullmark's glove.

The Sabres' struggles continued into the third period as the Flames ran the score to 4-1 just four minutes in. On a broken play in the Calgary end, the Flames found themselves with a 3-on-1 chance heading back the other way. Forwards Dillon Dube and Derek Ryan freed up some space in front with quick passes, and an uncovered Milan Lucic was able to tap in a pass from Ryan in front of the Buffalo net. It was Lucic's first goal of the year as Calgary continued to punish Buffalo for their sloppy play.

The blue and gold put together a last-ditch effort in the final three minutes of regulation, but it was not enough.

Jake McCabe cut the deficit to two with 2:44 to play with a one-time goal off a nice pass from forward Victor Olofsson. Jack Eichel then followed suit with his 18th of the season on the power play with 48 seconds left to play to cut Calgary's lead to 4-3.

Despite the loss, Eichel's goal in the waning seconds of the third helped extend his current point streak to 11 games, where he has 10 goals and 20 points in that span.




Goal Summary:

First Period:

BUF: 3:29 - Sam Reinhart (10) (Rasmus Ristolainen, Victor Olofsson)
CGY: 16:42 - Johnny Gaudreau (6) PPG (Sean Monahan, Matthew Tkachuk)

Second Period:

CGY: 11:18 - Tobias Rieder (2) SHG (Derek Ryan); 15:02 - Sean Monahan (7) (Mikael Backlund, Rasmus Andersson)

Third Period:

BUF: 17:16 - Jake McCabe (2) (Victor Olofsson); 19:12 - Jack Eichel (18) PPG (Brandon Montour, Marcus Johansson)
CGY: 3:58 - Milan Lucic (1) (Derek Ryan, Dillon Dube)


Penalty Summary:

First Period:

BUF: 14:58 - Jeff Skinner (High-sticking - 2 min.)
CGY: 4:54 - Matthew Tkachuk (Delay of game, puck over glass - 2 min.); 12:23 - Michael Frolik (Slashing - 2 min.); 14:00 - Mikael Backlund (High-sticking - 2 min.)

Second Period:

​CGY: 10:32 - Johnny Gaudreau (Hooking - 2 min.); 18:17 - Oliver Kylington (Interference - 2 min.)

Third Period

BUF: 8:03 - Jimmy Vesey (Holding - 2 min.)
CGY: 4:21 - Oliver Kylington (Cross-checking - 2 min.); 5:24 - Noah Hanifin (High-sticking - 2 min.); 18:32 - Noah Hanifin (Tripping - 2 min.)

Shots on Goal:

BUF: 29 (10, 11, 8)
CGY: 29 (9, 11, 9)


BUF: Linus Ullmark - 25 saves
CGY: David Rittich - 26 saves

Power Plays:

BUF: 1 for 8 (12.5%)
CGY: 1 for 2 (50%)

Three Stars:

  1. Johnny Gaudreau - CGY
  2. Derek Ryan - CGY
  3. Mark Giordano - CGY

What's Next:

The Sabres continue their tour of Western Canada on Saturday afternoon when they visit the Vancouver Canucks. Puck drop at Rogers Arena is set for 4 p.m. with the Paul William Beltz Pregame Show with Brian Koziol starting at 3 p.m. on WGR.

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