Jack Eichel’s second overtime goal of the season propelled the Sabres to a much-needed win vs. Calgary at the Saddledome, 4-3.
The Flames are the hottest (terrible pun not intended) team in the NHL right now and were 8-1-1 in their last 10 entering the game. However, Buffalo was not intimidated and bounced back from a pathetic performance in Edmonton on Monday with one of its strongest of the showings of the year.
Goals from Evan Rodrigues and Rasmus Dahlin helped the team overcome two separate one goal deficits and Jake McCabe put them up 3-2 before Noah Hanifin tied it late in the third. Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk also scored for Clagary. The Flames remain the top team in the West and second to only Tampa Bay in the League.
The victory avenges Buffalo’s loss to Calgary at home in OT on October 30. It was also a deja vu-like feeling for Eichel, who scored the winner in the extra period as well when the Sabres came to Calgary last year. Linus Ullmark was strong in goal and stopped 30 of 33 shots from the red-hot (okay it’s tough to not use puns when the team is literally named after fire) Flames. David Rittich was also impressive for Calgary, stopping 19 of 23.
The win elevates Buffalo to 54 points and keeps them two behind Pittsburgh for the second Wild Card spot. The Sabres have struggled a lot lately and it would have been four in a row had they lost tonight. Goals from three different players that aren’t Eichel or Jeff Skinner is also encouraging as the team continues to search for supplementary offense.
The team concludes its annual Western Canada swing on Friday in British Columbia for a battle with 1970 counterpart Vancouver. It’s Buffalo’s last game before the All-Star break and it would be huge if it could win two straight going in.
Though it’s been rough lately, Dan Dunleavy’s Kardiac Kids are far from toast. A win over a tough team like Calgary is a huge boost, let’s see if they can keep it going vs. Elias Petterson and the Canucks.