The Five Takeaways: Flames vs. Sabres
Five key elements from the Flames battle with the Sabres
The Flames opted to start Henrik Karlsson in Buffalo as starting netminder Miikka Kiprusoff played on Thursday night in Detroit. It was the goalie's third start of the year but he looked right at home between the pipes.
The netminder was under siege right from puck drop but was poised under the immense pressure.
Despite often being left out to dry by his team, Karlsson made more than a couple of clutch saves in the loss. If he wasn't so on the ball, the Sabres could have had six or seven goals.
Overall, Karlsson stopped 42 shots in the 2-1 loss.
The Buffalo Sabres entered Friday's game with only one win in their last five games and their play in the first period showed how badly they wanted to halt that losing skid.
They immediately started wiring as many shot as possible on Karlsson, ending the first frame with 18 shots. It didn't matter where players were - if they could get a shot off, it was going towards the Flames net.
Drew Stafford was able to beat Karlsson with a high wrister that flew over the netminder's glove at 7:29 and the Sabres had several more quality scoring chances as the Flames took three minor penalties after the goal.
The Flames sent eight shots at Jhonas Enroth in the opening twenty minutes.
The Sabres took their first two penalties of the game just 51 seconds apart, handing the Flames a golden opportunity to tie up the contest with the 1:09 5-on-3 power play. However, their time with the man advantage garnered nothing but a shot bouncing off the crossbar.
In short, their power play tactics were far too predictable. The Sabres could read almost every one of their plays and made sure to either give Enroth a clear view of the oncoming shot or they clogged up lanes, disrupting passing plays made by Calgary.
Friday marked the first time Chris Butler and Robyn Regehr played their former clubs. The two swapped teams in the offseason with Paul Byron joining Butler in the move to Calgary and Ales Kotalik and a second-round draft pick also going to Buffalo.
Butler played 19:10, attempted two shots and blocked two shots in his return.
Regehr put in 19:55 of ice time, took two shots and threw one hit.
Here's an astonishing fact: the Flames have not won in Buffalo since Mar. 15, 1996 when they handed the Sabres a 3-1 loss. That is 15 years of defeat in western New York. Their all-time record against the Sabres is now 33-45-16-3.