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PUTTIN' ON A SHOW

Rieder scores a showstopper that wins a fan a car, while Lucic tallies his first as a Flame in a big win over the visiting Sabres

by TY PILSON @TyPilson / CalgaryFlames.com

So, you're playing in your 400th career NHL game.

It's a big night.

An important occasion.

A significant milestone, to be sure.

To acknowledge that and give you a nice pat on the back, the coaching staff puts you out for the opening faceoff, alongside different linemates, just so you can play that first shift.

 

Video: Brendan Parker wraps up tonight's big win

 

So, you figure, as anyone one of us would, 'hey, might as well score a highlight reel goal to help the team out.'

'Oh, and why not win a car for a lucky fan with that tally, just for good measure.'

Tobias Rieder scored his second goal of the season - a nice five-hole backhand through the wickets of Linus Ullmark in the second period - as the Flames beat the visiting Buffalo Sabres 4-3 Thursday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

As if that wasn't drama enough, the C of Red was brought to its feet later in the third period as fan favourite Milan Lucic scored his first goal as a Flame, the infamous 'Loooooooooccccchhhhhh' chant echoing through the building.

That marker would turn out to be the game-winner.

With the victory, the Flames improved to 4-0-1 in their last five, and are now a perfect 3-0 under interim coach Geoff Ward. 

Back to Rieder's tally, it won a shiny new 2019 Chevy Malibu for a fan named Cindy, as part of Shaganappi GM's Minute To Win It contest.

She was, as you could expect, ecstatic.

Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau also scored in the tilt, while David Rittich had another impressive night, making 26 saves.

Both Johnny and Mony were standouts in the outing, Gaudreau named the game's first star.

Of course, this all happened on what's always an extremely special and important evening, as the Flames honoured our military at the 14th Annual Canadian Armed Forces Appreciation Night.

The Flames new-look lines started strong, controlling play in the early minutes of the contest.

But the Sabres would open the scoring on their first shot, with Sam Reinhart tipping a Rasmus Ristolainen shot at 3:29.

Reinhart later came up big to help stop what would have likely been a sure-thing goal, getting back as the second man on a short-handed Calgary two-on-one between Mark Giordano and Derek Ryan.

Giordano feathered a pass through to Ryan who had an open cage, but Reinhart got his stick on it before it made its way across, deflecting it wide.

The Johnny And Mony Show tied things up on a powerplay.

Moments after Gaudreau feed Monahan in the high slot for a great shot that Ullmark turned aside, No. 23 fed the puck to No. 13, Johnny Hockey walking in and snapping a wrister high, far-side to tie it up.

Matthew Tkachuk got the other helper.

 

Tweet from @NHLFlames: Better wash those mitts, 'cause that shot is FILTHY. #BUFvsCGY | #Flames pic.twitter.com/lF9zjyt66B

 

The Flames were slinging pucks in the second, creating chances and drawing plenty of "ooohhhss' and 'aaaahhhhs' from the crowd.

Mark Jankowski and Michael Frolik had great back-to-back chances, first Jankowski getting off a shot in the slot from Frolik that just trickled wide of the far post, then Janko returning the favour to his winger, Frolik being denied with a shot from in tight to the left of Ullmark.

Of course, Rittich - the NHL's second star of the week - was doing what he does best by stoning the opposition shooters.

First he stopped a tip attempt on a rush by Zemgus Girgensons, then he made a similar stop awhile later on Jimmy Vesey.

That came Rieder's terrific tally at 11:18 of the second stanza.

 

Tweet from @NHLFlames: Good luck catching him.#BUFvsCGY | #Flames pic.twitter.com/oJF76pQT90

 

Just under four minutes later, Monahan made it 3-0.

He skated the puck up the right boards and made a drop pass to a trailing Mikael Backlund, and then taking a pass back and spinning with a rocket of a one-timer as he stood in the middle of the faceoff circle. 

It was his seventh of the year, Rasmus Andersson also getting an assist.

 

Tweet from @NHLFlames: Let's pause for a moment and appreciate this 🚀 from Monahan. #BUFvsCGY | #Flames pic.twitter.com/Ag5EKUcUt8

 

Up 3-1 in the final frame, the crowd was already amped up.

So when Lucic finished off a beautiful three-way passing play with Ryan and Dillon Dube, the fans sprung to their feet as Dube chased Lucic in the corner, the big man throwing his arms up in the air with an even bigger smile.

 

Tweet from @NHLFlames: Oh, what a feeling! #Loooooooch#BUFvsCGY | #Flames pic.twitter.com/IR5Szg6mVw

 

Under pressure, the Flames then killed off 53-seconds of a two-man advantage for the Sabres.

Gaudreau got close to adding his second, Ullmark hurling himself across the net to stop a one-timer off a Backlund pass. 

Jake McCabe, with 2:44 left, and Jack Eichel - on a late 6-on-4 with the goalie pulled and 48 seconds to play - made the score look closer than the game was.

 

Tweet from @NHLFlames: Lucky #Flames fan Cindy, left, meets with Tobias Rieder, who scored a second-period goal to win her a new car as part of @ShaganappiGm's Minute To Win It contest. Congrats Cindy! pic.twitter.com/OVrA1qNL6U

 

THEY SAID IT:

Lucic on his tally:

"It was great. A little bit of a relief. Always nice to get the first one with your new team. My teammates all along have been sticking with me and building me up, because it took longer than I'd hoped and probably a lot of people had hoped. But good on everyone for all the support. I'm more than excited that I was able to do it in front of the home crowd. They stuck with me throughout the whole season so far and never gave up on me. In saying all that, it's nice to get a big goal. When you make it 4-1, you don't always think that it's going to be the winner, but nice that it ends up (being that). ... Personally, now that you've re-lived that feeling, it's time to hold onto it and get it rolling."

 

Video: "Always nice to get the first one with your new team"


 

Rieder on that goal that won a car:

"After the goal, when I got on the bench, Mony told me, 'You just won that lady a car!' I was like, 'What's going on?' and then I saw it on the jumbotron. She seemed really excited. I just met her outside and I'm really happy for those people."
 

More on Cindy:

"She was really, really happy and thanked me. I didn't even know after the goal. Really nice people and I'm really happy for them."
 

Did he plan the breakaway move or did the goalie open up?:

"A bit of both. You go in on a breakaway, you see what the goalie's doing - is he playing out or is he deep in his net a little more, and then you have a couple of go-to moves and you see if it works or not."

 

Video: "Really nice people , really happy for them"

 

Ryan on the win:

"I thought we had a really good game. A good 55 minutes. The line changes were the best part there. Wardo has options. There are a lot of different directions he can go. There's a lot of chemistry in a lot of different places, so it's nice to get some 5-on-5 goals."

 

Video: "I thought we played real quick"

 

THE LINEUP:

 

Tweet from @NHLFlames: Tonight's starters 💥#BUFvsCGY | #Flames | @Schneiders pic.twitter.com/vDZnujcjMF

 

The forwards and D-pairings to start last night's tilt:

FORWARDS

Matthew Tkachuk - Elias Lindholm - Andrew Mangiapane

Sean Monahan - Mikael Backlund - Dillon Dube

Milan Lucic - Derek Ryan - Johnny Gaudreau

Tobias Rieder - Mark Jankowski - Michael Frolik
 

DEFENCE

Mark Giordano - TJ Brodie

Noah Hanifin - Travis Hamonic

Oliver Kylington - Rasmus Andersson


GOALTENDERS

David Rittich  

Cam Talbot 

 

ONE-TIMERS:

Players wore special military jerseys for warmups that will be auctioned off. Click on the tweet below to bid or for more details ... The Flames issued an update on the new Event Centre yesterday. Click here for the story ... Flames defenceman Travis Hamonic returned to the lineup from injury Thursday night. The veteran missed six games with a lower body injury ... Rieder's 400 games break down like this: 292 games for the Coyotes, 67 games for the Oilers, 20 games for the Kings and has suited up in 20 games as a member of the Flames.

 

Tweet from @NHLFlames: Our Canadian Armed Forces jersey auction is now live! Bid now and support a great cause ~ https://t.co/OmaQiQ0Y80 pic.twitter.com/Qj7abpRG1Y

 

UP NEXT:

The Flames host Drew Doughty and the Kings in a Hockey Night in Canada tilt Saturday at 8 p.m. (click here for tickets). After that, it's back on the road for a back-to-back with the Avalanche Monday and the Coyotes on Tuesday, before returning home to host the Maple Leafs Thursday (click here for tickets).

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