Buffalo is Finally Back After All-Star Break

Sabres host Flames in home matinee as playoff push continues

Game 51

Buffalo Sabres (26-20-4) vs. Calgary Flames (24-18-10)

Puck Drop: 12:30 PM EST | KeyBank Center | Buffalo, NY


Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Flames Blog: Matchsticks and Gasoline

Know Your Opponent

Calgary Flames

Record: 24-18-10 | 58 PTS

Last Game: 2-1 Loss vs. Detroit Red Wings

Division Ranking: 5th in Pacific Division

PP: 25th (19%)

PK: 6th (82.3%)

What to Watch

1. Fresh Off the Break

Fresh legs will hopefully be in the Sabres’ favor today as this is their first game since February 1st - which, unfortunately, resulted in a hard-to-watch 5-1 loss to Carolina. The Flames are coming off of their own tough loss against the Red Wings this week who are just above .500 themselves.

Tage Thompson left the last game with an injury and missed his first All-Star appearance, but is seemingly ready to be back on the ice this weekend after participating in practices this week. His scoring will continue to be vital as the Sabres will need every point they can rack up until mid-April. Thompson has 17 points in his last 15 games and, if he contributes a point against the Flames, will surpass his previous single-season career high in points of 68 from last season.

Thompson’s linemate Alex Tuch has also been a key part of offense this season, especially lately with 44 points in his last 35 games.

2. Cozens Signed

Since the All-Star break, much has happened - especially for Dylan Cozens. Like fellow center Thompson, Cozens has locked up the next seven years in a Sabres uniform and is now the third player to sign an extension in the last six months (along with Mattias Samuelsson, respectively). Going into today’s game, he has 35 points in 36 games on the season thus far and ranks second in the league among forwards 22 and younger with multi-assist games (seven).

3. Final Stretch Begins Now

It has been many years since Buffalo has been considered a playoff contender and, to be honest, it feels good to not be completely out of it yet. This is the first time in a long time fans have been keeping a close eye on the standings this late in the season as Buffalo continues to push for much-needed points during these final few months. With 56 total, the Sabres are four points behind the Washington Capitals who hold the first Wild Card seed. Also battling alongside the Sabres for a playoff spot are the Penguins, Panthers, and Islanders.

The Sabres’ home record this year is underwhelming at 11-13-2 and the Flames’ are slightly better with a road record of 10-9-8. Buffalo defeated Calgary 6-3 during their last matchup, which took place back in late October.

On a positive note, this season is the first one since the early 1990s in which the Sabres have had at least four players tally 50 points or more before game 50. Let’s keep the momentum going into the postseason, boys.

Projected Lineups

Buffalo Sabres


Jeff Skinner - Tage Thompson* - Alex Tuch

JJ Peterka - Dylan Cozens - Jack Quinn

Casey Mittelstadt - Tyson Jost - Victor Olofsson

Zemgus Girgensons - Peyton Krebs - Kyle Okposo

*Thompson is considered day-to-day with an upper-body injury but practiced on Friday and will likely play today. Rasmus Asplund would fill the potential missing spot.


Rasmus Dahlin - Mattias Samuelsson

Owen Power - Henri Jokiharju

Jacob Bryson - Ilya Lyubushkin

Goaltenders: Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (expected starter), Eric Comrie, Craig Anderson

Calgary Flames


Dillon Dube - Elias Lindholm - Tyler Toffoli

Jakob Pelletier - Nazem Kadri - Jonathan Huberdeau

Andrew Mangiapane - Mikael Backlund - Blake Coleman

Milan Lucic - Adam Ruzicka - Trevor Lewis


Noah Hanifin - Chris Tanev

Nikita Zadorov - MacKenzie Weegar

Dennis Gilbert - Michael Stone

Goaltenders: Dan Vladar, Jacob Markstrom (expected starter)