Buffalo Sabres @ Calgary Flames Preview

The Buffalo Sabres (14-30-3) take on the Calgary Flames (25-19-3) at the Scotiabank Saddledome tonight. This is the Sabres first of four road games in a Canadian series that also stops in Edmonton, Vancouver, and Montreal. With three games remaining in the month of January, Buffalo is still looking to get their first win of the month. Buffalo’s last win was exactly a month ago when Tyler Ennis netted the only goal in the 4-3 shootout win over the New York Islanders.

The Sabres are looking for their first win in January. Their last win came exactly a month ago when Tyler Ennis netted the only goal in a 4-3 shootout win over the Islanders. Image courtesy of Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News

The Sabres are looking for their first win in January. Their last win came exactly a month ago when Tyler Ennis netted the only goal in a 4-3 shootout win over the Islanders.

Image courtesy of Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News

Anxious to return to the lineup after missing 13 games due to an upper body injury sustained in the December 21st game against the Boston Bruins, captain Brian Gionta had this to say about the current mindset of the team after practice yesterday morning:

“You can’t get too high, you can’t go too low. Things are going bad, you need to find a way out of it and not take it home with you. You have to try and leave things and not let it eat you apart and try and get out of it as soon as possible.”

Snapping their 11 game losing streak against the Calgary Flames won’t be an easy task for the Sabres, even after the much needed break. The Flames are currently in Stanley Cup Playoff contention with a one-point edge on the Los Angeles Kings for the West’s second wild-card spot. This is their first game in a six-game homestand, with the first three games all coming against opponents outside of the playoff field.

Bob Hartley, coach of the Calgary Flames, is looking for his goaltenders to step up and play a major role in his team’s success.

            "We have a chance to play games that will mean something for us. We all understand how goaltending is                 a big part of the game and we've said it right from the starting of training camp."

Jonas Hiller will get the start in net for Calgary. This will be Hiller’s first start since January 9th. In the 30 games that he has played, Hiller only has 13 wins. Shots on net will be key to a Sabres win. The last time these two teams met, Buffalo was able to pull of an unorthodox win, stealing the game by a score of 4-3 despite being outshot 45 to 19.   

Jhonas Hiller (pictured above) will get the start in net tonight for the Flames. This will be Hiller's first start in net since a January 9th loss to the Florida Panthers. Image courtesy of John Rosen/LA Kings Insider 

Jhonas Hiller (pictured above) will get the start in net tonight for the Flames. This will be Hiller's first start in net since a January 9th loss to the Florida Panthers.

Image courtesy of John Rosen/LA Kings Insider 

Nikita Zadarov will not be playing in tonight’s game. Zadarov was suspended by the team for missing yesterday’s practice and not reporting to the team on time following the NHL All-Star break. Sabres General Manager Tim Murray said that they anticipate Nikita joining back up with the team this week. Ted Nolan hopes that Mike Weber will make an impact as he returns to the lineup and fills any possible hole that Zadarov’s absence may bring about.

Buffalo has recalled goaltender Matt Hackett and forward Matt Ellis from the Rochester Americans. Hackett’s recall was due to an injury that occurred to Michal Neuvirth over the All-Star break. Hackett began the season on the injured reserve with the Sabres and returns to Buffalo only 3 starts into his season with the Rochester Americans. In his 3 starts with Rochester, Hackett went 1-2-0 and averaged 3.10 goals against with an 886 save percentage.

Matt Hackett has been recalled from the Rochester Americans (AHL) due to a Michal Neuvirth injury. This is Hackett's first call up of the season. In 3 starts with Rochester, he went 1-2-0. Image courtesy of Timothy T. Ludwig/USA Today Sports 

Matt Hackett has been recalled from the Rochester Americans (AHL) due to a Michal Neuvirth injury. This is Hackett's first call up of the season. In 3 starts with Rochester, he went 1-2-0.

Image courtesy of Timothy T. Ludwig/USA Today Sports