Tkachuk scores late, Gaudreau in OT as Flames beat Sabres
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Johnny Gaudreau’s magic touch has the Calgary Flames pointed back in the right direction.
One day after setting up the winning goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Gaudreau scored 2:40 into overtime to lead the Flames to a 2-1 comeback victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night.
He did it in style, too. After Matthew Tkachuk scored with 55.3 seconds in the third period, Gaudreau and Mark Giordano completed a pretty give-and-go that left Gaudreau alone with an open net.
“You enjoy it,” Calgary coach Bill Peters said of Gaudreau, his leading scorer. “I’ve been on the other side of it, obviously, I’ve seen him in the league long enough. I just like the way he goes about it. He’s a passionate player and gets rewarded for his effort.”
The Flames (7-5-1) have bounced back with impressive back-to-back wins on the road after a homestand to forget. Calgary lost 9-1 to Pittsburgh on Thursday before a 4-3 overtime loss to Washington on Saturday.
“We’re getting where we want to be,” Giordano said. “Tonight was solid again, I didn’t think we gave up much. We’re getting to where we know what to expect out of each other defensively and we’re not cheating offense and that’s resulting in wins.”
Down 1-0, the Flames took charge in the third, controlling the flow of play and outshooting Buffalo 5-1. They pulled goaltender David Rittich with more than two minutes remaining, which set up Tkachuk’s equalizer. Tkachuk tipped a hard shot from Elias Lindholm that was also deflected by Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen and then again off the ice.
The Sabres (6-4-2) were left frustrated after spoiling a terrific effort by goalie Carter Hutton. Hutton made 36 saves and was outstanding throughout the game.
“I just feel bad for him,” Sabres coach Phil Housley said. “He’s really given us some really good, solid goaltending and he’s been asked to stand on his head and that’s unfortunate. ... He was our best player once again. He gave us a chance to win.”
Eichel put the Sabres on the board first with a power-play goal with 3:30 left in the first period. The Sabres captain ripped a one-timer from the left circle into the top of the net, ending an eight-game goal drought.
“We didn’t play well,” Eichel said. “Obviously, they outplayed us and we didn’t deserve to win that game.”
The Flames appeared to even the score at the start of the second period but officials ruled that a whistle blew before the puck went into the net. After a highlight-reel stick save by Hutton prevented Lindholm’s shot from crossing the goal line, the puck went into the net on a second opportunity — but officials had already blown the whistle. A replay review upheld the decision.
“I liked the composure on the bench,” Peters said of the disallowed goal. “Had a little adversity there and then moved on.”
Rittich made 28 saves for the Flames.
The Sabres have points in five straight games (3-0-2) for the first time since a nine-game point streak in 2012.
NOTES: This was the first of two meetings between the teams this season. The second takes place in Calgary on Jan. 16. ... D Jake McCabe, C Evan Rodrigues and LW Remi Elie were scratched for the Sabres. D Dalton Prout, Michael Stone and C Austin Czarnik were scratched for the Flames.
Flames: Return home to play Colorado on Thursday night.
Sabres: Go on the road for a home-and-home series against Ottawa that begins on Thursday night.