Skip to main content
The Official Site of the Calgary Flames

Flames fall in Buffalo

by Aaron Vickers / Calgary Flames

-- Johan Larsson scored the game-winner, and Robin Lehner made 26 saves to lift the Buffalo Sabres to a 6-3 win against Flames at First Niagara Center on Thursday.

Rasmus Ristolainen, Marcus Foligno, Nicolas Deslauriers, Jack Eichel and Evander Kane scored for the Sabres.

"Lots of goals on both sides and they were very opportunistic," said Flames coach Bob Hartley. "It’s not like we gave them a lot but they took advantage of their chances. They have some great shooters. You look at Eichel’s goal on the powerplay from the blueline, that was labeled for the top corner.

"Again, we had a few defensive turnovers and they made us pay for it."

Mikael Backlund, Dougie Hamilton and Sean Monahan scored, and Jonas Hiller made 29 saves for the Flames. Calgary has lost seven consecutive games, including the first three of a four-game road trip and 10 of the past 11.

"Anytime you lose seven in a row things aren’t going to be too happy around here," Giordano continued. "We’ve got to keep grinding away and putting gin the effort. I think the effort is still there but way too many mistakes in our own zone and too many goals are going in our net."

The Flames finish their four-game road trip Saturday at Consol Energy Center against the Pittsburgh Penguins (1 p.m. MT; Sportsnet, SN960).

Monahan scored his 21st of the season early in the third to tie the game 3-3, slipping a loose puck in the crease by Lehner at 3:56. Garnet Hathaway earned his second assist, and second career NHL point, on the goal.

But Larsson lifted a backhand over Hiller at 9:31 to restore the one-goal lead, the eventual game-winner.

Eichel snapped a shot from the point on a power play with 7:14 remaining in regulation to give the Sabres a two-goal cushion.

Kane sealed the game for the Sabres with 1:31 left. With Hiller on the bench in favour of the extra attacker, Backlund lost the puck breaking out of his zone and Kane fired it into the vacant cage.

"We are having tough breakdowns in our own zone," said Flames captain Mark Giordano. "We are giving up way too many goals. We were right there tonight and we made some mistakes. I lost my guy there in the third and they got the go-ahead goal. It’s a game of inches but we have to better in our own zone, we are giving up way too many goals."

Hathaway was whistled for a pair of minor infractions in the contest, adding to the Flames parade to the penalty box which gave the Sabres eight powerplay opportunities, including two 5-on-3 chances.

"We are a very undisciplined team right now," Hartley said. "Frustrations cannot dictate the way we play. Those two referees are known to be two of the best referees in the NHL."

After a scoreless first period featuring 12 combined shots, Backlund opened the scoring 3:18 into the second with his 12th of the season, chipping a loose puck short side over the shoulder of a downed Lehner to give Calgary a 1-0 lead. With an assist on the play, Hathaway earned his first NHL point.

"It means a lot but I’m just trying to help the team win right now," said Hathaway of his milestone. "Personally It feels great, I worked hard for it but it doesn’t mean much of we don’t win."

Ristolainen tied the game at 10:27. Foligno missed the net from near point-blank range, and Brian Gionta corralled the rebound behind the net and found Ristolainen sneaking in from the point. Ristolainen, who had a hat trick against the Flames earlier in the season, beat Hiller low to even the score 1-1.

Foligno didn’t miss on his next chance. Shorthanded, he toe-dragged around TJ Brodie before tucking a shot under the crossbar to put the Sabres up 2-1 at 15:57.

The lead lasted 15 seconds.

On the same power play, Hamilton took a pass from Sean Monahan and zipped his 10th goal of the year, a career high for the 22-year-old, over Lehner’s glove to tie the game 2-2.

"I felt good tonight and sometimes you just feel that way and pucks are coming to you in certain spots," Hamilton said. "I'm just trying to make the most of it."

The tie lasted 62 seconds.

Deslauriers took a pass from Zach Bogosian and whipped a shot over Hiller’s shoulder with 2:46 remaining in the period to restore Buffalo’s one-goal lead.

"We are a proud organization and we’re showing up in our rink or the visiting rink with the firm intentions of winning games," Hartley said. "If we wouldn’t work, there would be something for concern. Right now we need some practice time, we need a little time off too, to refocus and refuel because our focus is not in the right place."

View More