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Monahan's overtime tally gives Flames win over Sabres

Flames register first win of the season

by Jason Johnson @Jay__Jo / CalgaryFlames.com

CALGARY, AB -- Sean Monahan scored his second goal of the season at 2:26 of overtime to give the Calgary Flames their first win of the season, a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday at the Scotiabank Saddledome.  

Calgary improved to 1-2-1 on the season while Buffalo dropped to 1-2-1.

It was Glen Gulutzan's first win as the Flames coach.

"I think everyone needed that goal, Gulutzan said in his post-game media address. "The fans, the coaches, and [Monahan]. It was an exciting game."

"Honestly, I was more excited for the guys… We have a great group and [they're] trying, they are really putting it out there… [The coaches] needed it and [the players] needed it."

Monahan's marker tied Jarome Iginla for the most overtime goals in Flames franchise history. The goal capped off a Calgary rally that saw the Sabres lead on three separate occasions.

The winner came off Monahan's stick as he beat Sabres goaltender Robin Lehner after accepting a perfect pass on a two-on-one with Johnny Gaudreau. It put an end to a wild overtime period that saw the Flames with the majority of the scoring opportunites. 

"I just tried to get open. Johnny had the puck and when he has the puck you try to find a soft spot," Monahan said. "He threw the sauce right on my stick and it was a great play there by John.

"You've got to find a way to get the puck in OT. It's all about possesion and when you've got the puck you've got to hold on to it and make something happen."

Video: BUF@CGY: Monahan wins game with point-blank wrister

"Making that big play is hopefully the beginning of [Gaudreau and Monahan] getting their game going again," Gulutzan said. "Both young guys [who] have been putting pressure on themselves."

Michael Frolik scored his team leading third goal of the season. Micheal Ferland and Matthew Tkachuk, with his forst NHL goal, rounded out the scoring for Calgary. Chad Johnson turned aside 18 shots in goal for the Flames.

Zemgus Girgensons, Ryan O'Reilly and Marcus Foligno scored for the Sabres and Lehner made 30 saves.

The Sabres opened the scoring at 7:25 of the first period when Tyler Ennis circled at the side boards and threw the puck into the slot where it was deflected past Chad Johnson and into the top corner by Gergesons to give the Sabres an early 1-0 lead.

The Flames got on the board at 16:12 of the opening stanza, Brett Kulak rifled a shot from the point which Lehner got his left pad on. Backlund took one crack at the rebound leaving the puck for Michael Frolik, who deposited it into the open net to even the game 1-1.

The play was whistled dead when the puck entered the net but the video review was short, showing the puck entered the net prior to the whistle.

It was Kulak's first NHL point.

The rookie blueliner thought he collected his first NHL point Saturday in Vancouver, when Canucks forward Loui Eriksson accidentally put the puck in his own goal on a delayed penalty call for Calgary.

Kulak, who cracked the Flames lineup out of training camp for the second straight year, had three goals in two pre-season games. The 22-year-old suited up in eight skates for the Flames last season and made his NHL debut in Calgary's final regular season game on Apr. 11 in Winnipeg.

The Sabres regained their one-goal advantage at 11:41 of the second period, with Flames forward Matt Stajan in the box serving an interference infraction, O'Reilly took a pass from Ristolainen and sent a shot towards the net from the top of the faceoff circle that was initially stopped by Johnson, but careened into Dougie Hamilton and trickled into the Calgary goal. 

It was O'Reilly's third goal and fifth point in his last two contests and Ristolainen's fifth assist in his last three games.

Micheal Ferland drew the Flames even at the 1:10 mark of the third period with his first goal of the campaign when he picked up a loose puck along the far boards, charged towards the net and lifted a backhand past Lehner. 

Foligno put the Sabres back out in front 3:49 into the third period when he cut across the slot and blasted a hard wrister that beat Johnson clean on the blocker side.

Matthew Tkachuk drew the Flames even at the 4:32 mark of the third period when he skated down the left side and ripped a wrister past Robin Lehner. It was Tkachuk's first NHL goal.

"It was obviously unbeilevable. You dream about scoring in the NHL for a long time. Now that I've got the first one out of the way hopefully we can keep rolling as a team and keep putting the puck in the net. 

"I knew that since we were down to just try to be a spark offensively and try to be in the offensive zone and see what happens and luckily one went in."

The Flames selected Tkachuk 6th overall at the NHL Draft in June. The 18-year-old scored twice in teh pre-season and added a shootout winner en route to cracking the Flames opening night roster.

Video: BUF@CGY: Tkachuk ties game with first NHL goal

Tempers flared at the 10:24 mark of the third following a hard check delivered by Tkachuk on Ennis. Nicolas Delauriers came to the aid of Tyler Ennis and took a double-minor roughing call.

"He is an emotional guy and he's in the fabric of the game, he is always in there," said Gulutzan. "He scored that goal and I think that got him charged up. He put life into the bench and the building."

NOTES: Calgary scratches were Nicklas Grossmann, Dennis Wideman and Freddie Hamilton … it was Chad Johnson's first start in Calgary, the city he grew up in ... The Sabres were without Jack Eichel and Evander Kane.

UP NEXT: The Flames continue their three-game homestand on Thursday against the Carolina Hurricanes (SN Flames, Fan960).

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