Calgary Flames tie game late, win in overtime against Buffalo Sabres

Calgary Flames cap off a successful quick two-game road trip with an overtime win against the Buffalo Sabres.

Last season, the Calgary Flames were 6-5-1 on their second night in back-to-back games. So far this season, they’re 1-0-0.

David Rittich got the nod tonight since Mike Smith started last night and he was excellent yet again. In a great game against the Buffalo Sabres after coming off a great win the night before, the Flames found themselves down a goal in the first period. After pushing and pushing, they finally tied the game late with less than a minute left and won in overtime.

It was a successful two-game road-trip against two Eastern Conference teams. Let’s see how the Flames got here.

First period

Early in the game, the Calgary Flames gave up a giveaway at their blue line and the Sabres had a two-on-zero breakaway essentially, but David Rittich made a big save.

A couple of minutes later, Jack Eichel shot it on the net which Rittich stopped, then a big rebound came from the opposite side and Rittich made a sharp save there as well.

The Flames then went on the powerplay. They applied a lot of pressure and had some great chances down low, but unfortunately, nothing found the back of the net. On that PP, they had six shot attempts, three shots, two scoring chances, and one high-danger chance.

Slightly past the midway mark, Matthew Tkachuk and Mikael Backlund had a great chance to score, and after some passing between the two, Backlund tried to get it over to Michael Frolik but the puck took a weird bounce and Frolik couldn’t quite get to it. After some continued pressure from the Flames third line all thanks to James Neal keeping the puck alive, the Sabres took another penalty.

The Flames started out strong on their PP, much like the last one, and Sean Monahan had a great chance but Carter Hutton made a good save. Moments later, Jeff Skinner got a great opportunity on the backhand for the Sabres’ first shot in about ten minutes, but Rittich came up big again.

In somewhat of a turnover in the neutral zone, Jason Pominville got it over to Eichel who took no time to get a quick wrist shot over Rittich’s shoulder. 1-0 Sabres. It was a great release and there isn’t much Rittich was able to do about it.

Shortly after, the Sabres went on the powerplay and had some great looks with four shots, but Rittich was sharp and stopped them and stopped some rebounds as well.

This period ended 1-0 for the Sabres but it was quite evenly played at even-strength.

Second period

Early in the second period, the Calgary Flames had a great chance from the top line and a pass from Monahan over to Elias Lindholm which Hutton stopped with their stick. The ref blew the whistle somewhat early and Hutton kicked the puck in himself, but the whistle blew so this goal didn’t count.

Another great chance for Backlund just moments later, but this one was also stopped. Can Hutton please just leave for a second?

The Sabres then had their chance with some good offensive zone pressure, but this remained a one-goal game.

The Flames top line had yet another good chance but they couldn’t seem to beat Hutton. Throughout this period, it looked like the lineups were getting mixed a little bit and James Neal was on a line with Tkachuk and Backlund.

Later in the period, the Flames went on another powerplay, but this one wasn’t as great as their two in the first period, and it went scoreless.

With less than a minute to go, the Sabres took a penalty so the Flames went on their fourth powerplay of the night. The Flames couldn’t quite get set up right away, so they’ll start the final frame on the PP.

The Flames had the slight edge in shots and attempts at 5v5 but otherwise, it was quite evenly played again.

Third period

The Calgary Flames started the third period on the powerplay, but it was somewhat useless. The Flames kept up the pressure after their powerplay expired, especially from Gaudreau to Monahan, but nothing found the back of the net.

A few minutes later, Zach Bogosian charged at Dillon Dube and took a penalty. The Flames having an opportune powerplay when they need a goal the most? Yeah, we already knew the outcome of this PP.

The Flames were dominating for most of the period and didn’t even let the Sabres get a shot on goal until there were less than eight minutes left in the game.

The Flames kept pushing the rest of the period before taking out Rittich for the extra attacker. With just 55 seconds left in the game, Tkachuk tipped the puck with a shot from Lindholm and it’s a tie game. You could say Tkachuk was quite excited…

However, at the last second, Tkachuk took a tripping penalty so the Flames were shorthanded to start OT. And off to OT we go.

Overtime

The Sabres started with some good PP pressure in the offensive zone, but the Calgary Flames cleared and almost had a breakaway, but decided to play it safe. The Sabres had another great chance in the dying seconds of their PP, but Rittich made a great pad save.

Once the powerplay expired, the Flames had a chance. Mark Giordano made a great play behind Rittich to get the puck from Rasmus Ristolainen which helped the Flames get a breakout. Gio found Monahan who got the puck over to Johnny Gaudreau, was down alone until Giordano joined him on a two-on-one basically, Hutton tried to stop a shot on Gio and the puck got over to Gaudreau who net it past Hutton.

That’s an OT win!

This was a great two-game road trip for the club and will definitely boost their morale as they head back home to play the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night.