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Buffalo Sabres, Calgary Flames Meet in Battle of Rebuilding Teams

December 14th, 2013 at 9:00 AM
By Paul Lane Sabres 101

The Buffalo Sabres welcome a team with a rebuilding regime of its own Saturday when the Calgary Flames come to town.

In a rare Saturday afternoon game (2 p.m., MSG), the Sabres and Flames will battle while boasting the two newest front office tandems in the NHL. The Flames fired general manager Jay Feaster and his assistant, John Weisbrod, on Thursday. President Brian Burke took over on an interim basis and say his team beat the Carolina Hurricanes that night in overtime, 2-1.

'Ryan Miller watches a shot go wide.' photo (c) 2008, andrewwinn - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

New Sabres President of Hockey Operations Pat LaFontaine also won his first game when he took over the team in November. He and interim coach Ted Nolan are 3-8-1 since taking the reins, most recently losing 2-1 Thursday to the Ottawa Senators.

The Sabres have been getting more shots on goal and keeping goals against down, but that hasn't yet translated into wins. Buffalo hasn't allowed more than three goals since Nov. 21. But they've totaled 10 goals in that span and have only won twice. Three of those goals are from Tyler Ennis, who's found the net three times in the last four games.

Goalie Ryan Miller, who made 30 saves in Thursday's loss, feels the improved effort will eventually yield results:

"When you see guys doing the right things in the right place, they tend to start scoring. Hopefully, they can carry some confidence. These were good games for us."

The Flames have actually had several good games of late, having won four out of their last six. They still languish near the bottom of the Pacific Division, though, at 12-15-4.

Goaltending has been part of the problem. The Flames allow 3.2 goals per game, third-worst in the NHL (Buffalo actually allows fewer, 2.9). Karri Ramo (5-5-1, 2.82 GAA) and Reto Berra (4-7-2, 3.18 GAA) have not been able to replace the retired Miikka Kiprusoff. Ramo has won three of his last four starts, though, including Thursday.

Jiri Hudler leads Calgary with 28 points. Mike Cammalerri leads the Flames with 10 goals. 

Center Cody Hodgson and defenseman Alexander Sulzer both missed Thursday's game for the Sabres. Sulzer was put on injured reserve. Hodgson's absence was not explained, and his status for Saturday is uncertain.

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Tags: Buffalo, Buffalo Sabres, Hockey, NHL

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