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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, December 14th (All times Eastern)
Calgary Flames (12-15-4) at Buffalo Sabres (7-23-2), 2 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Calgary Flames will try to win their second straight game since a front-office shakeup, as they visit the lowly Buffalo Sabres for Saturday's afternoon clash at First Niagara Center.
On Thursday, the Flames put together a satisfying end to a trying day which began with the firing of general manager Jay Feaster and his assistant John Weisbrod. Calgary turned in a thrilling 2-1 overtime win later that night, edging the visiting Carolina Hurricanes at the Saddledome.
It was the fourth win in the last six games for the Flames, who will see team president of hockey operations Brian Burke assume the duties of general manager until a replacement can be found.
Defenseman Chris Butler netted the winning goal with four seconds remaining in OT to lift Calgary to a home victory before it kicks off a five-game road trip this afternoon in Western New York.
"It was big," Butler said of the win. "The mentality on the bench was very different tonight."
Brian McGrattan also lit the lamp for the Flames in the recent win. Karri Ramo stopped 29 shots, including a Jeff Skinner penalty shot in the third period.
Calgary enters this road trip having won two straight and three of its last four games as the guest, but the Flames are just 6-8-1 away from the Saddledome this season.
Buffalo, meanwhile, is still dead last in the NHL standings with only 16 points and a dismal 7-23-2 record through 32 games.
The Sabres, who have lost four of five and nine of their last 11 games, were dealt a 2-1 regulation setback Thursday in Ottawa despite firing a season-high 41 shots at Senators goaltender Craig Anderson.
Tyler Ennis was the only Sabre able to get one past Anderson, while Ryan Miller made 30 saves in the loss, which came after Buffalo recorded a 2-1 shootout win over the visiting Senators on Tuesday.
"I think that was one of our better efforts, honestly," said Miller. "They were going to be showing us a little more after losing in our building. They had more energy, more time to prepare. I thought we had the energy. We had some jump and we were creating. We just couldn't get it all to click."
Cody Hodgson missed Thursday's tilt with an undisclosed injury, but the centerman is questionable for this afternoon's game. Hodgson is leading Buffalo this season in both goals (8) and assists (10).
After earning a split in the home-and-home with Ottawa, the Sabres are opening a three-game stay at First Niagara Center on Saturday. Buffalo has won two of its last three home games, but is still only 4-12-1 as the host this season.
The Sabres will welcome Winnipeg on Tuesday before closing the residency Thursday against Boston.
Saturday's tilt marks the first encounter between the Sabres and Flames since Buffalo posted a 2-1 home win on Nov. 4, 2011. The Sabres have claimed eight straight matchups in Western New York, but Calgary is 5-2-2 in the last nine meetings overall.
12/14 10:24:21 ET