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The Game Rush: Flames vs. Sabres

by Kristi Hennessy / Calgary Flames

CALGARY, AB -- For a team that the Flames only see once a year, the two teams looked  to be very familiar with each other by the middle of the third period. 

Drew Stafford opened the scoring for the Sabres at 8:11 of the opening period which was the only goal of period one.

The Flames answered back early in the second period as Olli Jokinen tapped in a juicy rebound off of a Robyn Regehr shot from the top of the circle. Alex Tanguay got to the rebound first and got it over to Jokinen who beat Ryan Miller short side.

Later in the second period, it was Jarome Iginla's time to shine as he raced in with Alex Tanguay, beat his man and accepted a nice feed from Tanguay all alone in front. Iginla released a quick shot beating Miller short side again.

The Flames scoring didn't stop there. Ales Kotalik started it off in the 3rd period scoring just 2:20 in. He made the goal look easy as he threw a heavy snap shot on net that flew past a stunned Miller glove side. 3-1 Flames with plenty of hockey left.

4:28 minutes later, David Moss scooped up a nice rebound of his own that he converted into a goal. Tim Jackman barged into the Sabres zone and let one go that Miller turned aside, only for Moss to pick up easily and make it 4-1.

Patrick Kaleta added another tally to the Sabres side at 16:55 giving the Sabres some hope to claw back.

The Flames shut down their comeback idea down as the "grind line" stepped out for the last shift of the game to push for one more. With two Sabres in the box the Flames were out for blood with two extra men.

Tom Kostopoulos picked up his 3rd of the season tapping one in, in the very last second of the game. Adam Pardy and David Moss picked up the helpers.

The Flames walked away with the 5-2 victory over the Sabres Monday night.

After a late go-ahead goal by Iginla in the second period, Ales Kotalik did a good job on keeping the crowd loud and the momentum on the Flames bench.

At 2:20 of the third period, Ales Kotalik threw what looked like a harmless snap shot from inside the left circle. The shot flew past a stunned Ryan Miller glove side making it 3-1 early in the third. The Sabres would score once more in the third but it was all Flames from that point forward.

At the 16:13 marker of the second period, Alex Tanguay broke into the Sabres zone, with Jarome Iginla racing up centre with speed.

Tanguay made a nice feed over to Iginla who made no mistake all alone in front of Miller beating him short side to give the Flames a 2-1 lead.
The crowd roared and the Flames fed on the energy in the building.

Jarome Iginla once again put on quite a show. He was close to perfect in the face-off circle going 83%. Iginla was dangerous each and every shift tonight. He picked up his 15th goal of the season at 16:13 of the second period and had four shots on net in his 19:31 minutes of ice time.

His brilliant game earned himself another first star of the game.

Since Lindy Ruff was named Buffalo's head coach on July 21, 1997, there have been 157 coaching changes in the NHL.

Head coach Brent Sutter

"In the first period we got playing and got our legs moving. Our thinking hats came on after we started the second period and we started playing. It's a good sign.

The last few periods we were simplifying our game and getting back to how we need to play and how we want to play. We were able to roll four lines over and for the  most part everyone played well from that point on."

Friday, Dec. 31 vs.Colorado
  7:00 PM MT (SNET-W, FAN 960)

The Flames will have a few days off before welcoming the Colorado Avalanche at the Scotiabank Saddledome on New Years Eve on Friday night.

Friday's game will be the third of six meetings between these two division rivals. The Avalanche are the highest scoring team in the league at the moment with122.

Game time is  7:00 PM MT on SNET-West & The FAN 960.
9 Alex Tanguay is 9th in the league in shooting percentage with 18.9%
80 Total man games lost to injury for the Buffalo Sabres.
200 Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller needs one win to hit 200 NHL wins.
+/- Cory Sarich leads the Flames in the plus minue department with +9.
20 Jarome Iginla is 20th in goals (15).

1st Star
Jarome Iginla
G A P +/- Shots
1 0 1 2 4
2nd Star
Alex Tanguay
G A P +/- Shots
0 2 2 2 1
3rd Star
Olli Jokinen
G A P +/- Shots
1 1 2 2 4

Ryan Miller
33 28 5 58:41 .848

Miikka Kiprusoff
27 25 2 60:00 .926

Author: Kristi Hennessy

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