Skating alongside Jarome Iginla
and Alex Tanguay
, veteran center Olli Jokinen
is finding his game.
Jokinen and Iginla scored second-period goals to lead the Calgary Flames
to a 5-2 victory against the Buffalo Sabres
at Scotiabank Saddledome on Monday night.
Jokinen, who also had an assist, has six goals in his past nine games after a sluggish start to the season in which the four-time 30-goal scorer found the back of the net only twice in his first 25 games.
"The puck is bouncing my way a little bit now and I'm a big believer that if you work hard, and you keep doing things right, then eventually pucks are going to start going in," Jokinen said.
Calgary got going in the second period after falling behind 1-0 in a lackluster opening 20 minutes in which the teams combined for just 13 shots.
The Flames emerged from the first intermission skating much better and generating significantly more scoring chances, getting 14 shots on Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller
and taking a 2-1 lead.
Iginla put the Flames into the lead at 16:13 on a pretty set up by Tanguay, who spotted Iginla in the open behind Jochen Hecht
and sent a perfect breakaway pass to the Flames captain, who snapped a shot between Miller's pads.
Calgary tied the game at 2:26 of the second period on Jokinen's eighth goal of the season.
Iginla sent the puck back to Robyn Regehr
at the blue line and the veteran defenseman wristed a shot through a crowd that Miller kicked out a pad to stop, but the rebound was fired in by Jokinen for his eighth goal on the season.
"We've had these chances over the last four or five games and we just haven't been able to put them in," said Iginla. "Hopefully this is the start of a snowball in the other direction where we get those, and they find a way into the net."
Alex Kotalik, David Moss
and Tom Kostopolous also scored for Calgary (16-18-3). The Flames have won two straight. The Flames will look to extend their winning streak to three on Friday when they host the Colorado Avalanche on New Year's Eve. Calgary is 4-1 in its past five games at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
and Patrick Kaleta
scored for Buffalo (14-18-4). Buffalo concludes its short two-game road trip to Alberta with a game Tuesday night in Edmonton.
The Sabres used a lineup with two significant holes from the group that played against Florida in their 4-3 loss before Christmas.
Missing up front was leading scorer Derek Roy
, who tore his quadriceps tendon against the Panthers and is lost for the season.
Absent from the blue line was 20-year-old defenseman Tyler Myers
. While spending the Christmas break at his parents home in DeWinton, a small community just south of Calgary, last year's NHL Rookie of the Year came down with the flu.
"We got the lead and the next 40 minutes, some poor decisions on our part," said Buffalo forward Jochen Hecht
. "We turned the puck over, they go the other way. We gave up 2-on-1's, 2-on-2's. We got lucky they were only up 2-1 after two."
The Flames extended their lead to 3-1 at 2:20 of the third when former Sabre Kotalik scored his first goal of the season, firing a shot into the top corner as he skated down the wing.
Moss banged in a Tim Jackman
rebound at 6:48 to put the Flames ahead by three goals.
"We had pretty much all four lines going and you need that if you want to win," Jokinen said.
Miller was busy in the second period keeping the Sabres within striking distance despite allowing the two goals.
Iginla had a pair of chances 10 seconds apart only to have both his wrist shot and turnaround slap shot turned aside.
Two minutes later, Miller kicked out his toe to deny a shot from Rene Bourque
Buffalo scored the lone goal of the first period on Stafford's 10th of the season.
Stafford eluded Matt Stajan
as he cut in front of the Flames net then slid a pass across the crease, intended for Hecht. Instead, it banked off the skate of Flames defenseman Anton Babchuk
and past Miikka Kiprusoff
"We need to win," said Stafford. "It's come down to this where we need the points and it starts with (Tuesday) night. We just have to forget about this one and get ready for a big one in Edmonton."
Kiprusoff finished with 25 stops. Miller had 28 saves.
Material from wire services and team media was used in this report.