Sabres capitalize on goalie gaffe, beat Flames 1-0 in OT
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Tage Thompson scored 3:07 into overtime and Dustin Tokarski made 24 saves to lead the Buffalo Sabres over the Calgary Flames 1-0 on Friday night.
Buffalo (21-33-8) has split the first two games of its Western Canada road trip, which wraps up Sunday night in Vancouver.
It was a rare lost point on home ice for Calgary (37-16-8), which is 15-1-2 in its last 18 games at the Saddledome.
Tokarski (6-9-4) got his second career shutout and first since 2013-14 with the Montreal Canadiens.
“I’ll try to get a few more in the future,” he said.
Jacob Markstrom stopped 33 shots and fell to 29-11-7.
After playing a brilliant game, Markstrom made a critical mistake on the deciding goal. He charged out of the net to clear a puck that had been shot in off the sideboards, but in attempting to send it to safety, he whiffed on it and Thompson was right there to corral it and fire it into the empty net.
“It’s tough to watch. I mean, Marky played really well for us tonight. Kept us in the game multiple times,” Flames center Mikael Backlund said.
The 24 shots were a season low for the Pacific Division-leading Flames.
“It’s easy to score in October and November. You’ve got to get in to where the mud is a little more,” coach Darryl Sutter said. “That’s individuals, get in there and work and dig.”
The save of the night and a contender for save of the season was a highlight-reel effort by Tokarski, who dove across the crease to take away what appeared to be a sure goal for Calle Jarnkrok after he was set up with an empty net on a perfect pass from Andrew Mangiapane.
“That was ridiculous,” Thompson said. “I saw the dive across. At first I thought they scored and didn’t hear anything, so I had to check the replay. That was incredible. I’m not surprised, though. He makes stops like that on everyone at practice.”
It took every inch of the 6-foot Tokarski and the full extension of his arm to get his glove on that chance.
“Just challenging (Mangiapane) and he made the pass. I was behind and kind of off balance so I just dove over there and tried to get what I could and fortunately I made a save,” said Tokarski, whose family made the 5-hour drive from his hometown of Saskatoon to attend the game.
The win came after Buffalo got whipped 6-1 in Edmonton on Thursday night. The Sabres had been 1-6-4 in the back end of back-to-back games.
“Last night might’ve been the worst game of the year and tonight was right up there with one of the top games,” coach Don Granato said. “Loved the response out of our guys to compete. The collective effort I thought was great.”
Jarnkrok made his Flames debut after the 30-year-old Swede was acquired Wednesday from the Seattle Kraken for three draft picks. He centered a line with Mangiapane and Tyler Toffoli, acquired Feb. 14.
The two best chances of the third period went to Calgary.
Johnny Gaudreau spotted Chris Tanev sneaking in from the point and hit him with a diagonal pass, but Tokarski acrobatically got across to rob the defenseman.
With four minutes left in the third, Matthew Tkachuk sprung Gaudreau on a breakaway, but he shot over the net.
“It’s a good point. That might be the point that gets you into the playoffs,” Sutter said. “It’s a good point for us. Didn’t score, got a point.”
NOTES: Buffalo made one lineup change, inserting Robert Hagg for Colin Miller on defense. … Jarnkrok, Markstrom and Elias Lindholm are all from Gavle, Sweden, a town with a population of 75,000. … After scoring his first goal of the season Wednesday, Flames RW Brett Ritchie was a scratch.
Sabres: At the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night.
Flames: At Vancouver on Sunday night.
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