SABRES EXTINGUISH THE FLAMES
Stafford & Gerbe tally as Buffalo takes down Calgary 2-1.
After a tough start against the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday, the Buffalo Sabres bounced back Friday night with a 2-1 victory over the Calgary Flames at the First Niagara Center.
While the Sabres found themselves in a very early 3-0 hole on Wednesday, they took the lead early on Friday and didn’t look back.
“I thought our puck movement and execution was probably our best game of the year when it comes to that,” said Sabres head coach Ruff. “Skating wise, excellent game and passing wise. I’ve said when the puck movement is good from our defensive forwards, we get a lot of things done.”
Right winger Drew Stafford opened the scoring 7:59 into the first period on a rocket one-timer off a pass from center Derek Roy. Stafford and Roy each snapped a six-game scoreless streak with the goal and it was Stafford’s first goal since Oct. 15.
“It’s one of things when things aren’t going well, if you’re going through a rough patch, you have to make sure that the work’s still there,” Stafford said. “I knew eventually one would go in and it just happened to go in tonight, so it felt pretty good.”
The Sabres got off to a quick start in the second period as forward Nathan Gerbe scored 1:45 into the period. Marc-Andre Gragnani recorded his fourth assist of the season on the goal after being a healthy scratch against the Flyers.
Calgary had multiple opportunities on a 5-on-3 powerplay that lasted 1:09 during the second period but the Sabres penalty kill held firm. Flames defenseman Anton Babchuk rang one shot from the point off the crossbar and then another that ended up in goaltender Jhonas Enroth’s glove.
“You know you’re going to give up a few chances if they do things properly on a 5-on-3. You just try to minimize those looks they get and the quality of what those chances are,” said Sabres defenseman Robyn Regehr, who played 11 seasons with the Flames before being traded to Buffalo in the off-season.
Jhonas Enroth ended the game with 28 saves, the only blemish coming from an Alex Tanguay goal at the 5:45 mark of the third period. Flames goaltender Henrik Karlsson stopped 42 shots.
--The Sabres penalty kill continued its strong play this season, holding the Flames powerplay 0-for-3. Buffalo has killed off 40 of 43 penalties this season (93 percent), the best in the league. They’ve allowed just one powerplay goal in their last nine games and have allowed only three this season.
--Buffalo is now 3-0-0 and 7-0-0 when leading after two periods.
--Enroth’s shutout streak lasted 107:39 over three games. Enroth made 28 saves for Buffalo.
--Sabres forward Corey Tropp played 4:39 in his NHL debut and played on a line with Cody McCormick and Matt Ellis. “I thought [Tropp] was real good,” Ruff said. “That line gave us some real good shifts. I thought his energy was excellent.”
7:04 - Greetings from the First Niagara Center in downtown Buffalo, where tonight the Sabres (6-5-0) close out a season-high five-game homestand against the visiting Calgary Flames (5-5-1).
7:06 - The Sabres are coming off a 3-2 loss on Wednesday against Philadelphia, while the Flames come to town after defeating the Detroit Red Wings 4-1 last night in Motown.
7:06 - Buffalo heads to Ottawa immediately following tonight’s game, and they’ll take on the Senators in Canada’s capital tomorrow at 7 p.m.
7:07 - OK folks ... time for some questions. What have you got for me?
7:10 - Comment From Guest: do you think starting enroth was a good choice?
7:10 - Enroth played well on Wed, so I don't have a problem coming back with him tonight. The kid is unflappable.
7:10 - Comment From Bflo Jack: Who are Troop's linemates tonight?
7:11 - Corey Tropp is expected to step into Kaleta's spot on RW with Gaustad & Gerbe. You'll like his game; he's a real grinder with good hands.
7:14 - No love for Brad Boyes in the poll?
7:15 - Comment From Guest : Seems to me like the Sabres need to grind a little hard in the O zone. Sustain the pressure a bit more. What are your thoughts
7:15 - Agreed. Sustained pressure has been lacking in recent games. It will be a key tonight against a team that played last night in Detroit
7:16 - Comment From Kris Baker: Kevin - Big night for Tropp skating on an all-American line with Gaustad and Gerbe. (I voted 'other' because 9 is going to break the seal tonight.)
7:16 - Comment From Aaron: Enroth starting in net tonight??
7:17 - Yes -- Enroth will be starting. I believe Karlsson is between the pipes for the Flames.
7:17 - By the way -- no Mike Weber on ice during warmups.
7:18 - Comment From Ry: Gragnani back then?
7:18 - Looks that way.
7:18 - Comment From Guest: Whats the news with Ennis?
7:19 - Tyler has been doing some light off-ice workouts this week, but that's it.
7:20 - Comment From Buffalo: HUGE fan in wisconsin, i think leino will actually do something tonight...hopefully
7:20 - Last game was probably his best so far. I think it will take one goal to get him going.
7:22 - Comment From Guest: How long do you think till Ennis is back?
7:22 - Tough to say. It will all depend on how comfortable his ankle feels in a skate when he starts skating
7:24 - Thanks for the chat everyone. Check back in tomorrow night for a pre-game chat when I'll be LIVE from Ottawa
7:27 - BUFFALO STARTERS: Leopold/Regehr, Leino/Roy/Stafford, Enroth
7:27 - BUFFALO SCRATCHES: Weber, Kaleta, Ennis
7:28 - CALGARY STARTERS: Bouwmeester/Butler, Glencross/Jokinen/Iginla, Karlsson
7:29 - CALGARY SCRATCHES: Hagman, Letourneau-Leblond, Smith
7:29 - Let’s take a look at some of the storylines heading into tonight’s game...
7:29 - ** Only meeting of the season between Buffalo and Calgary; 97th all-time. ** Buffalo leads the all-time series 47-33-16; 29-13-5 at home
7:30 - ** Brad Boyes leads all Sabres with 7 goals and 18 points in 18 career games against Calgary. ** Buffalo’s PK is 37/40 (92.5%) this season, tied for 1st in NHL
7:31 - ** Jason Pominville, Luke Adam and Thomas Vanek are all on four-game point streaks
7:31 - ** Calgary hasn’t won a game in Buffalo since March 15, 1996
7:38 - Jokinen and Roy about to square off for the opening faceoff ... and we're off!
7:41 - Corey Tropp out there with Ellis & McCormick to start his NHL career.
7:42 - Boyes has shifted to RW with Kaleta and Gerbe.
7:45 - Sabres able to maintain some early puck pressure down low on the Flames. That will be a key tonight, as the Flames played last night in Detroit.
7:46 - Gaustad tied up Morrison in close preventing the one-timer from Stempniak
7:48 - Still scoreless with 12:22 left in the 1st. Sabres holding a slim 3-2 lead in shots, and winning a lot of the one-on-one battles down low.
7:52 - BUF 1-0: Stafford unleashes a cannon past Karlsson, one-timing a pass from Roy from the high slot. Roy and Sekera with the helpers. (7:59)
7:53 - Sarich heads to the box for holding after putting the can opener move on Gerbe in the corner.
7:55 - Vanek puts a dent in Karlsson's armor with a bullet from the faceoff circle. That follows two great scoring chances by Boyes.
7:56 - Another big save by Karlsson, sliding across the crease to prevent Stafford's tip.
7:57 - Back to full strength, after one of Buffalo's best PP opportunities in recent games. I counted at least 4 good scoring chances.
7:59 - Stafford barges through the crease looking for his second, but has the puck slide off his stick
8:00 - Enroth comes up huge! Swatting away an almost sure goal
8:01 - TV timeout -- 3:56 left in the period.
8:04 - West Seneca's own Lee Stempniak dumps Pominville at blueline, and will now serve 2 for tripping.
8:06 - You've gotta like Buffalo's puck movement on the power plays so far. They are generating a lot of scoring chances
8:07 - Glencross scoops up the loose puck and races in shorthanded, but his shot catches Enroth on the shouder
8:09 - Just as Stempniak leaves the box, he's replaced by Kostopolous -- 2 mins for tripping.
8:09 - Buffalo is 0/2 on the PP tonight, but they've had 7 shots
8:10 - Roy is robbed on the doorstep by Karlsson
8:12 - Two huge saves by Karlsson. He used his right pad to stop Boyes, then flashed the leather to glove Myers' shot.
8:13 - End of 1: Sabres lead 1-0, and outshoot the Flames 18-8.
8:21 - Brad Boyes has taken a game-high 5 shots
8:22 - Of Buffalo's 18 shots, 13 came on the PP
8:31 - 2nd period underway
8:36 - Jokinen steps in over the blueline and snaps a shot right into the Sabres crest on Enroth's chest. That's Calgary's first shot of the period.
8:38 - McCormick nearly finds Tropp streaking to the net but the puck is deflected
8:41 - Sekera's clearing attempt finds the seats, and he's given a Delay of Game penalty.
8:43 - Enroth snatches Babchuk's point blast, seconds after he rang one off the crossbar
8:44 - Sabres back to full strength. Very active PK, lots of sticks blocking lanes
8:46 - 10:35 left in the 2nd. Shots are all even at 7-7 this period. Henrik Karlsson has been a rock in the Flames net, turning away numerous Sabres scoring chances. The Sabres could easily be up 4 or 5-0 right now
8:53 - Vanek cuts around old friend Chris Butler, snapping a shot that Karlsson gets a piece of.
8:55 - Watching Karlsson play goal is like seeing an NLL goalie in action. At 6'6" he takes up most of the net.
8:56 - Great hustle by Tropp to force the puck deep started a great shift for his line. He doesn't look out of place at all in his first game.
9:01 - Always makes me laugh to see Enroth hiding back in the net when the play is in the other end. I think Karlsson would have to fold himself in half to get in the net the way Enroth does.
9:03 - Sabres get caught with an extra skater on the ice, and will now serve two minutes. Matt Ellis will serve it.
9:04 - Myers nearly sneaks in for the shorthanded tally -- but has his redirect turned away by Karlsson. The Flames then ice the puck.
9:05 - That's all she wrote for period 2 -- Sabres continue to lead 1-0.
9:07 - Buffalo fires 19 shots at the Calgary net, upping their two period total to 37. The Flames counter with 9 -- for a total of 17.
9:11 - Jhonas Enroth has extended his career-high shutout streak to 101:54.
9:23 - The puck is dropped on the 3rd period...
9:24 - Buffalo's 20-shot margin after 2 periods is their largest of the season - previous high was 8 @ FLA on Oct 20
9:27 - BUF 2-0: Gerbe is left all alone in the slot to bury the cross ice feed from Gragnani (1:46)
9:27 - The Sabres are 6-0-0 when leading after 2 periods; Calgary is 1-4-0 when trailing after 2
9:30 - McCormick and Jackman get into it in the Flames zone, with both men unloading some bombs at each other. They both get 5 for fighting.
9:32 - Enroth calmly slides across and stops Jokinen's tip attempt from the slot.
9:33 - After a Sabres giveaway in their zone, Horak blasts a shot that Enroth has no trouble stopping
9:34 - BUF 2-1: Tanguay tips a point shot from the hashmarks that catches Enroth out of position. (5:45)
9:35 - Enroth's career-high shutout streak is snapped after 107:39.
9:39 - Stafford nearly converts a 2-on-0 with Leino, but shoots wide
9:40 - Pominville jams the rebound past Karlsson but the play is immediately waved off
9:41 - Looks like referee lost sight of the puck as the play had been whistled down.
9:42 - Sabres have matched their season high with 42 shots
9:45 - Sabres now at 43 shots - their highest since 3/12 last season
9:47 - 7:01 remaining in a very entertaining hockey game. Faceoff in the Sabres zone after they iced the puck.
9:51 - Good work down low by Stafford and Leino to cycle the puck, then get it to Ehrhoff for the point blast stopped by Karlsson.
9:51 - There's 4:51 left in regulation as we reach the TV timeout.
9:57 - Faceoff in the Flames zone after they ice the puck - 1:40 left
9:57 - Karlsson leaves the net - 1 min left
9:59 - Calgary timeout - 18 ticks left on the clock
10:00 - GOAL!
10:00 - BUF 3-0: Pominville hits the empty net just as the buzzer goes
10:01 - Correction - no goal. FINAL SCORE 2-1