April 24th, 2024

Buffalo Sabres’ JJ Peterka scores game-winner in 4-1 win over Calgary Flames

By Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press on March 24, 2024.

Buffalo Sabres forward Peyton Krebs (19) gets away from Calgary Flames forward Andrei Kuzmenko (96) during second period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Sunday, March 24, 2024.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

CALGARY – Tage Thompson had a goal and an assist for the Buffalo Sabres in a 4-1 win Sunday over the host Calgary Flames.

JJ Peterka scored the third-period game-winner and Peyton Krebs also scored for the Sabres (34-33-5), who improved to 5-4-1 in their last 10 and head home after a 2-3 road trip. Thompson and defenceman Connor Clifton each scored empty-net goals.

Buffalo’s starting goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 32 saves in the victory.

Jonathan Huberdeau countered for Calgary (33-32-5) in their second game in as many nights after dropping a 4-2 decision to the Canucks in Vancouver.

Flames starter Dustin Wolf turned away 25 of 27 shots to go 2-2 since his most recent call up from the American Hockey League.

The Flames announced last week that Dan Vladar would undergo season-ending hip surgery on the same day that Jacob Markstrom was declared cleared from his lower-body injury. Markstrom made 22 saves versus Vancouver.

Both teams took 71 points into Sunday’s tilt. Both teams were watching the last wild-card playoff spot in their respective conferences become more distant.

With 10 games remaining in their regular season, the Sabres were six points back of the Washington Capitals holding down the last berth in the East. Buffalo has finished outside the post-season the last 12 years.

With a dozen games remaining, the Flames were 12 points back of the defending Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights in the final wild-card spot in the West,

Peterka scored a go-ahead goal at 11:04 thanks to a heavy forecheck by the twin towers of Thompson and Alex Tuch, who are both over six-foot-four. Thompson stepped out from behind the net to feed Peterka in the slot.

Peterka’s goal was his 24th this season. Thompson extended his point streak to a season-high five games with three goals and four assists. Tuch also extended a point streak to five games with a goal and six assists.

Buffalo killed off a Zach Benson interference minor early in the third period. Huberdeau’s power-play goal at 10:35 of the second period knotted the score 1-1.

With Krebs serving a hooking penalty, Huberdeau scored his 10th of the year when his shot deflected off the stick of Buffalo defenceman Owen Power five-hole on Luukkonen.

Wolf stopped Thompson on a breakaway later in the period, when the Flames also killed off their first penalty of the game.

Buffalo scored on its first shot of the game at 4:53 of the first period. Krebs, from nearby Okotoks, Alta., strode in from the boards and beat Wolf with a shoulder-height shot over the Flames’ glove.

It was the 23-year-old’s first goal since Jan. 11 and his fourth of the season.

SIMON REMEMBERED

The Flames honoured forward Chris Simon before the game with a video montage and a moment of silence.

The forward died March 18 at age 52 by what his family said was a suicide. Simon played two seasons in Calgary, including the Flames’ run to the Stanley Cup final in 2004. He scored five goals during those playoffs.

UP NEXT

Calgary: Heads out on a two-game road trip starting Tuesday in Chicago.

Buffalo: Heads home to host the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 24, 2024.

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