The rollercoaster that is the Calgary Flames will be back on the ice tonight in Buffalo with the club looking to ride the momentum gained in a surprising win in Detroit last night.
After ending their six-game homestand with an ugly 5-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks, the Flames were able to quickly put that game behind them and were a much different team against the Red Wings. Calgary received a breakout performance from captain Jarome Iginla who scored twice and added an assist in the 4-1 win; showing signs of snapping out of his annual early season slump.
Despite being out-shot 29-21 the Flames were able to keep the potent Detroit attack in check for most of the night with the Wings lone goal coming via a Dan Cleary power-play marker mid-way through the second period. The strong effort was a complete 360 from the Vancouver game where the Flames could offer little restraint to their opponents who capitalized on a number of their mistakes.
Calgary (5-5-1) will need to be sharp again tonight in Buffalo against a Sabres team who will be hungry for a win coming off two consecutive defeats.
Traditionally a very tough team to beat in their home arena, Buffalo (6-5-0) has struggled in front of the home fans early this season and come into tonight’s contest with a 2-4 record on home ice.
The Flames should expect a rebound performance from goaltender Ryan Miller who was pulled after allowing three goals in the first six minutes in the Sabres loss to Philadelphia on Wednesday night.
It will be interesting to see who head coach Brent Sutter will peg as his starting goalie tonight particularly in a back-to-back situation. The plan has been to give Miikka Kiprusoff some added rest this year and a back-to-back would be a good chance to do so, but with Kipper’s career 3-1-2 record and 1.79 GAA against Buffalo, it will be tough to keep him out of the lineup.
Puck-drop is scheduled for 7:30 EST in what is an important game for both clubs. The Sabres will be looking to avoid their third straight loss while the Flames are staring at the possibility of starting their mini three-game road-trip with two big victories.
Resident of Windsor, Ontario. Extensive knowledge of both the NHL and junior hockey in Canada, particularly the OHL. Writer for THW covering the Winnipeg Jets and the OHL as well as covering Phoenix Coyotes prospects for Hockey’s Future.