The Calgary Flames were among the league’s most disappointing teams in the NHL last season and they are off to a slow start as they prepare to host the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night. The winless Flames were pierced for 12 goals in dropping a home-and-home series to provincial-rival Edmonton before falling in a shootout at Vancouver.
Troy Brouwer, a free-agent acquisition in the offseason, channeled his inner Aaron Rodgers in an attempt to calm the teeth-gnashing among Calgary’s fans. “Stick with us,” Brouwer told the Calgary Herald following Saturday’s 2-1 loss to the Canucks. “Because we’re going to be a real good hockey team.” Buffalo is trying to find its footing after seeing 2015 No. 2 overall pick Jack Eichel suffer a high ankle sprain and Evander Kane sustain three cracked ribs in the season opener. The Sabres earned their first win in the opener of a four-game road trip, demolishing Edmonton 6-2 on Sunday behind two goals and two assists from Ryan O‘Reilly.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, MSG (Buffalo), Sportsnet (Calgary)
ABOUT THE SABRES (1-1-0): While O‘Reilly took center stage with a career-high four points, Sunday’s game marked the season debut of newcomer Kyle Okposo, who scored one goal and set up another after missing the opener with a sore knee. “It’s nice. It’s good for the confidence,” said Okposo, a 22-goal scorer for the New York Islanders last season who was imported as a free agent. “I‘m happy to get that one off my back and, you know, just a good win for us tonight.” Robin Lehner, who has yielded 11 goals in three starts versus Calgary, will be in net.
ABOUT THE FLAMES (0-2-1): The Sabres will see a familiar face in goal in Chad Johnson, who made 45 appearances (40 starts) for Buffalo last season and compiled a 22-16-4 record with a 2.36 goals-against average in his first full year as a starter. Johnson stopped 30 of 31 shots in the loss at Vancouver, a much-needed solid effort in net after Brian Elliott was dented for 10 goals in his two starts. “Should be fun,” Johnson said of facing his former teammates. “Good memories, good experiences there.”
1. Buffalo’s power play has converted on 3-of-11 chances in its first two games.
2. Flames F Johnny Gaudreau has three goals and four points in four games versus the Sabres.
3. Okposo has one goal and seven points in eight games against Calgary.
PREDICTION: Flames 4, Sabres 2