The Calgary Flames look to win four in a row to start the season for the first time in 13 years when they host the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday.
Calgary last won four straight out of the gate in the 2009-10 season. The Flames rallied for their third straight victory on Tuesday, turning a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 triumph against the Vegas Golden Knights.
“We’ve done a good job of doing the right things and finding ways to win,” forward Tyler Toffoli said.
Thursday’s tilt is the second of an eight-game homestand and part of a stretch in which the Flames play 11 of their first 15 games of the season at home.
While the results have come in the club’s favor thus far, they know there’s still plenty of room for improvement.
“I think a lot of the rest of our game is still we’re trying to get it to where we want to be consistent in what we’re doing,” assistant coach Ryan Huska said. “It’s early in the season of course. … Everything we’re doing is a work in progress right now. We want to make sure that this homestand that we’re on, we take advantage of.”
Calgary has benefited from depth to help fuel its success. Fourteen of the 18 skaters have at least one point, and 11 have multiple points. Free agent acquisition Nazem Kadri leads the team with four points (one goal, three assists) while Mikael Backlund, Elias Lindholm and Toffoli share the team lead with two goals apiece.
“I think we hit on it a little bit in preseason,” forward Blake Coleman said of the team’s depth. “We’re going to need all four lines and all six D and two goalies. I thought (Tuesday) was a really good example of showing our depth.”
The Sabres meet Calgary after dispatching the Edmonton Oilers 4-2 on Tuesday night for their second win of the season, thanks to a 46-save effort from Eric Comrie in goal.
“I felt that our intent on winning (Tuesday) was strong enough to push us through,” coach Don Granato said. “That’s really most important for me. I think the tactical stuff we’ll get better at, as I mentioned. … I want our guys to have fight, compete and no doubt they can win a hockey game in any manner. (Against Edmonton) we had that group, (Rasmus) Dahlin leading the way and others, had that attitude.”
Rookie JJ Peterka scored his second goal of the season in the win, extending his point streak to three games (two goals, one assist). Dahlin scored his team-high third goal of the season against the Oilers.
“The biggest thing is he’s just so fast,” center Tage Thompson said of Peterka. “He’s got a lot of speed and a lot hockey sense so I think he reads the play really well and that allows him, combined with his speed, to generate offense and score goals, too. He looked great out there.”
Buffalo could be without defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin against the Flames. He played only one shift in the latter half of the game against Edmonton and did not practice Wednesday. Granato said he’s day-to-day. If he’s unable to play, defenseman Casey Fitzgerald will draw in for his first appearance of the season.
–Field Level Media