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Flames go to overtime for third straight outing, edging Sabres 3-2 thanks to Lindholm's winner

by TY PILSON @typilson /

BUFFALO - It's become a theme of late.

Sixty minutes just ain't getting it done.

For the third straight tilt, the Flames needed extra time to get a result.

Two games ago, it was a 3-2 shootout win over the Flyers in Philly.

The last outing: a 3-2 loss in overtime to the Pens in Pittsburgh.

Wednesday night?

Elias Lindholm scored just 1:17 in extra time as the Flames beat the Sabres 3-2.

What is it with 3-2 scores?

They finish up this four-game road swing with a record of 2-1-1, taking five out of a possible eight points.

Associate coach Geoff Ward assumed head coaching duties in the game, while assistant coach Martin Gelinas and assistant GM Craig Conroy were also on the bench.

There weren't a lot of Grade-A chances early in the first period but the Flames had arguably the best one.

Matthew Tkachuk got the puck behind the net and sent one of his now patented no-look backhand passes tape-to-tape to Mikael Backlund, who was skating right down main street all alone, but Linus Ullmark able to turn his head back and slide across his net and get part of his blocker on the Calgary centre's quick far-side attempt. 

The Flames had the only powerplay of the frame, but couldn't get much going on it. The best opportunity actually went to Buffalo, David Rittich making a big shorthanded stop to keep it scoreless.

In quick succession late in the period, the Sabres came hard, first Conor Sheary driving wide around his defender and straight to the cage, trying to wrap it far-side around Rittich, who deftly denied him by stabbing out out his right pad.

Then Noah Hanifin made an excellent play to get his stick on a pass attempt and break up a three-on-one Buffalo rush deep in Calgary's zone.

TJ Brodie - in his second game back after missing five games following a scary medical incident during a practice- scored his first of the season as he took a pass from D-partner Mark Giordano and floated out near the right boards by the blue-line, stepping into a slapshot that squeaked through the pads of a screened Ullmark at 17:55, the 'tender looking back and seeing the puck cross the line, then snapping his head back and shaking it in disbelief.

It was the second time in as many games the Flames scored first in the outing, something they have struggled with this season.


Tweet from @NHLFlames: Just squeaks in.#CGYvsBUF | #Flames


Sean Monahan got the other helper.

Buffalo held a 9-8 edge in shots, two of them coming after Brodie's goal where Rittich again came up huge to keep his team in front and the goose egg on the scoreboard for the Sabres.

First he stopped Jimmy Vesey, who was all alone in tight, before denying a one-timer by Marcus Johannson.


Tweet from @NHLFlames: BIG SAVEDAVE


The Flames got their second powerplay of the game in the second period when Johannson tripped Andrew Mangiapane but halfway through the minor, Vesey got the puck and skated in alone on Rittich, going backhand-forehand to snap it home short-handed for his second of the season.

Brodie was strong defensively in his first game back against the Penguins Monday and kept that up against the Sabres, managing to catch up to and reach around and knock the puck off the stick of Jeff Skinner on a breakaway without being penalized.

It was an impressive play.

Tobias Rieder - one of fastest players on the Flames - used that speed to chase down a loose puck in the neutral zone for a breakaway of his own later in the stanza, trying to cut across the net and go far-side himself but Ullmark staying with him and making the stop.

With two minutes and change to play in the period, Dillon Dube was called for holding the stick of Jack Eichel but the Sabres enjoyed a lengthy 6-on-5 before the whistle finally went, holding the zone before Rittich finally gloved a shot by Eichel to send Dube off.

The Sabres had a scant 11 seconds of that PP left to start the third, Calgary winning the faceoff to run it out.

But just 1:44 later, Victor Olofsson took a pass from Eichel on the rush and from the left faceoff circle, wired a perfectly placed wrister far-side over Rittich's glove to give his team their first lead of the night.

Just over two-minutes later, Matthew Tkachuk tied it up after a scramble around the Buffalo net, Backlund getting a shot before Tkachuk scored his team-leading 21st point when he snapped the puck home from the side of the net.


Tweet from @NHLFlames: ������#CGYvsBUF | #Flames


Brodie was called for hooking just before the midway point of the frame and the Sabres had a handful of good chances, Rittich coming big time and time again. 

The shots had climbed to 33-24 for Buffalo at that point.


Tweet from @NHLFlames: Clutch.#CGYvsBUF | #Flames



Mark Giordano on the win:

"It was a grind out there, that's for sure. Two desperate teams, they're a team looking for a win as well. They had a good push there in the third, especially I think when they got that powerplay, they had some looks but again I liked our grind. I thought we did a lot of good things again tonight and you know what, we're finding ways to get points. Hopefully our confidence keeps growing and growing and this will turn into some sort of little streak for us once we really start putting the puck in the net."


Video: "It was a grind out there, that's for sure."


Giordano on tough trip:

"You know what, it's a four-game trip that's had a lot of adversity I feel like in it, starting with a real tough loss and over the last few days. I think the guys, you know, what we did as players was, we said to one another, you know this is almost a way to get away from everything off the ice right now, playing games and practicing - I thought we did a good job of that."


Elias Lindholm on trip that started with 5-0 loss to Blues:

"Ya, that was huge. I mean, obviously the way the trip started was tough, tough to loss that one, and then I think we battled back and at the end there, we come home with a pretty good road trip."


Lindholm on team after they fell behind 2-1:

"I think we were positive down there. I think, obviously, you never want to be down but, you know, but we've been down a lot this year I feel like and never panicked and always know we can come back and again we came back and got the two points."


Video: "Never panicked."


Matthew Tkachuk on rallying:

"We they make it 2-1 it's never fun in the third but we did a good job of getting back to our game, getting one and then getting it to overtime and you never what can happen in overtime or a shootout. It was a big extra point for us in overtime."


Tkachuk on always playing well in Buffalo:

"I don't know. I was drafted here so maybe there's some good luck."


Tkachuk on team improving its play:

"We're going back home feeling way better about ourselves, that's the important part. You know, the feeling in the dressing room is great right now. We're not sitting in a pretty spot, we're five hundred, but the way it started and the way things were going for us, to get back playing the way we know we can a little bit (is good)."


Video: "It's big going back home."



Sean Monahan is now just one game away from 500 in his career, which should come Saturday at home against the Sens ... Young Sabres blueline star Rasmus Dahlin did not play last night, sidelined indefinitely with a concussion suffered in Buffalo's last outing before facing Calgary ... The Flames have a record of 6-3-1 against Eastern Conference opponents, and 2-4-2 against the Atlantic Division ... The Flames have played the second most road games in the NHL this season, this tilt against the Sabres their 17th away from home.



The forwards, d-pairs and starting goalie to start last night's tilt:


Tweet from @NHLFlames: 🔴 Tonight's starters 🔴#CGYvsBUF | #Flames | @Schneiders



Johnny Gaudreau  - Sean Monahan  - Elias Lindholm

Matthew Tkachuk  - Mikael Backlund  - Andrew Mangiapane

Milan Lucic  - Derek Ryan  - Dillon Dube

Tobias Rieder - Mark Jankowski  - Michael Frolik



Mark Giordano  - TJ Brodie

Noah Hanifin  -  Rasmus Andersson

Oliver Kylington  - Michael Stone



David Rittich

Cam Talbot



The Flames return home from this four-game, eight-day roadie to host the Ottawa Senators (click here for tickets) Saturday night in an early tilt (5 p.m.). They follow that up with a return engagement with the Sabres on Dec. 5 (click here for tickets) at the Scotiabamk Saddledome.

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