Skip to main content

Sabres' Lieuwen to get first NHL start vs. Flames

by Brian Hunter

SABRES (19-41-8) at FLAMES (27-34-7)


Last 10: Buffalo 3-7-0; Calgary 5-5-0

Season series: This is the second and final game between the Buffalo Sabres and Calgary Flames. Matt Stajan scored 42 seconds into overtime to give Calgary a 2-1 win in Buffalo on Dec. 14.

Big story: It hasn't been an easy season in Buffalo and now the Sabres are limping to the finish line. In the past three games they've lost goaltenders Michal Neuvirth and Jhonas Enroth to injuries, though Neuvirth did make the trip to Calgary.

Team Scope:

Sabres: This is the start of a five-game road trip for Buffalo, which is looking to snap a six-game losing streak. The lowest-scoring offense in the NHL (1.85 goals per game) has produced five goals during the current skid.

Enroth sustained a leg injury in the second period of a 2-0 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday, leading to the NHL debut of Nathan Lieuwen, called up after Neuvirth woke up sore after facing 54 shots Thursday against the Carolina Hurricanes. Lieuwen stopped all 10 shots he faced and will make his first start Tuesday.

"I do my best to be calm out there," said Lieuwen, who is from Abbotsford, home of Calgary's American Hockey League affiliate. "I try to be composed and I think that's one of my strong points. And at the same time I rely a lot on my reads, reading the play and seeing what's going to happen before it happens."

Flames: The goaltending tandem in Calgary has seen its share of upheaval in recent weeks, with Reto Berra traded to the Colorado Avalanche and Karri Ramo missing time due to a knee injury. In their place Joni Ortio has come up from the AHL to assume the No. 1 job with veteran Joey MacDonald resurfacing to help hold down the fort.

The Flames could have reinforcements to the lineup on the way, as Stajan returned to practice Monday after having been away in recent weeks due to the death of his newborn son following childbirth. In addition, collegiate forward Kenny Agostino, acquired last season from the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Jarome Iginla trade, signed a two-year contract Monday and was expected to arrive in Calgary late Monday.

"I'm just excited to get back at it," said Stajan, who along with his wife Katie on Monday released a statement of thanks for the support they've received. He has 10 goals and 23 points this season. He last played March 1.

Who's hot: Sabres forward Tyler Ennis has two goals in the past three games. … Flames forward Mike Cammalleri (four goals, two assists) and defenseman Mark Giordano (one goal, four assists) have four-game point streaks. Forward Mikael Backlund has three goals in as many games.

Injury report: In addition to Enroth (lower body) and Neuvirth (lower body), Buffalo is dealing with injuries to defensemen Tyler Myers (elbow) and Alexander Sulzer (upper body) and forwards Chris Stewart (ankle), Zemgus Girgensons (lower body) and Torrey Mitchell (foot). Mitchell is on the trip and hopes to play Tuesday. … Ramo (knee) is sidelined for Calgary along with defenseman Dennis Wideman (upper body) and forwards David Jones (shoulder), Markus Granlund (upper body) and Jiri Hudler (upper body).

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.