Sabres Survive Flames on Eichel’s OT Winner

CALGARY — Jack Eichel scored the overtime winner for the Buffalo Sabres in a 4-3 road win over the Calgary Flames on Wednesday.

Seconds after putting a backhand off the post, Buffalo’s captain beat Calgary goaltender Dave Rittich with a low shot glove side 70 seconds into OT.

Jake McCabe, Evan Rodrigues and Rasmus Dahlin also scored for Buffalo (24-17-6), which halted a four-game losing skid.

David Rittich, Johan Larsson, Kyle Okposo
Buffalo Sabres’ Johan Larsson and Kyle Okposo celebrate as Calgary Flames goalie David Rittich looks away. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh)

Calgary (30-14-4) snapped a five-game winning streak and is tussling with the San Jose Sharks for first in the Pacific Division.

Buffalo goaltender Linus Ullmark earned the start and the win with 30 saves after relieving Carter Hutton in Monday’s 7-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers.

Johnny Gaudreau had a goal and an assist for the Flames. Matthew Tkachuk and Noah Hanifin also scored for Calgary with Elias Lindholm contributing a pair of assists.

Dave Rittich had 19 saves in the loss.

Hanifin’s wrist shot from the top of the face-off circle beat Ullmark stick-side at 8:26 of the third period to make it 3-3.

The Sabres were leading for the first time in the game at 10:56. With Kyle Okposo providing a screen, McCabe beat Rittich with a low wrist shot from just inside the blue-line.

Tkachuk’s power-play goal at 6:29 gave Calgary a brief lead before Dahlin drew Buffalo even at 7:34.

Dahlin’s shot from the boards through traffic deflected off Calgary’s Michael Frolik and bobbled between Rittich’s helmet and his glove into the net.

Gaudreau dealt the puck cross-ice to Lindholm, who dished it to Tkachuk in the slot for a re-direct.

Rodrigues pulled the visitors level at 9:45 of the second period.

Seconds after the Flames killed off a Gaudreau hooking penalty, the 25-year-old form Toronto corralled a stretch pass from Casey Mittelstadt and beat Rittich between the pads on a breakaway.

With just half a second remaining in the opening period, Gaudreau spotted Calgary a 1-0 lead.

While Buffalo’s Jason Pominville served a tripping penalty, an Elias Lindholm slapshot from the boards rebounded to Gaudreau to score the power-play buzzer-beater.

Notes: Gaudreau became the third-fastest player in Flames history to reach the 70-point mark in his 48th game of the season. Kent Nilsson (46 games, 1981) and Bob MacMillan (47, 1979) are the only others to reach that mark as quickly . . .  Calgary defenceman Travis Hamonic (family illness) and forward James Neal (illness) were scratches Wednesday.

Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press