|4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ET22:00 BRT, November 18, 2021
KeyBank Center, Buffalo, New York Attendance: 7,753
Flames looking for entire package vs. Sabres
Even though his team surrendered only two goals in their last outing, Calgary Flames coach Darryl Sutter did not agree with recent assessments lauding of his team's defensive success.
So, when the Flames face the Buffalo Sabres for Thursday's road clash, bank on a better performance than they provided in a 2-1 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday. The Flames surrendered 43 shots against in that one, including 14 in the third period.
"You guys talked about goals against and defense. Certainly didn't look like that tonight," Sutter said in the aftermath of the loss.
Sutter's disappointment could stem from the fact his team is 1-5 in extra-time games this season and appears to have crashed to earth following a 10-game stretch without losing in regulation by netting just one victory in their last five outings (1-2-2).
The Flames are still the NHL's second-best squad in goals-against at 34, entering play Wednesday, trailing just the Carolina Hurricanes (27). And some better offensive production would have been the difference in Philadelphia.
Forward Johnny Gaudreau pointed the finger at himself against the Flyers for having been blanked despite a career-high 10-high shots in a strong effort as the New Jersey native played before a load of friends and family
"It's more frustrating we lost," Gaudreau said. "When you have that many good looks, you've got to find the net. ... Our line was pretty productive in the offensive zone - we did a good job - but we've got to find a way to put the puck in the net."
The Sabres have won two of three games, the latest a 2-1 road victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday.
Buffalo overcame its defensive struggles in Pittsburgh thanks to a career-best 45-saves by goaltender Dustin Tokarski, with 19 of those stops in the third period while his club was clinging to the lead.
"He was our No. 1, 2, and 3 star," forward Kyle Okposo said.
The Sabres, who have missed the playoffs the last 10 seasons, are trying to stay in the thick of the race, and Tokarski's play of late has been a revelation.
After Buffalo added two veteran goaltenders in the offseason in Craig Anderson and Aaron Dell, with highly touted prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen waiting in the wings, Tokarski had his work cut out to earn a job during training camp. He had a solid showing during 13 games last season.
With Anderson out due to an upper-body injury, Tokarski has delivered a solid start to the season with a 3-3-2 record, a 2.71 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage.
"We have a great group of guys, we have a good staff," Tokarski said. "Going to the rink every day is a lot of fun. I think when you have that kind of group, it just makes playing games and practices and being around the team just a lot of fun. Maybe that's what's translating to a little more success. I'm just enjoying it."
To his teammates, Tokarski is being modest.
"In practice ... every little puck, every second puck, third puck, he's competing hard," Okposo said. "It definitely shows in the games. We just want to continue to put a good effort in front of him, but we know we're a confident bunch when he's back there."
--Field Level Media
Updated November 17, 2021