Buffalo Sabres 5 Calgary Flames 2

Vernon, Flames Flail in Buffalo

D'Arcy McGrath

November 23th, 2001

In the business of sports, fairly, or unfairly, it seems you are only as good as your last game.

In the space of three hours the Calgary Flames saw a ten game unbeaten streak miraculously transformed into a three game winless skid.

Their goaltender of choice for the evening, Mike Vernon, saw his personal record slip to 0-3-0 on the season, as the veteran has been the goaltender of record in all three regulars season losses for the Calgary Flames.

The loss puts the Flames goaltending situation into somewhat of a quandary, as Mike Vernon continues to have a difficult time putting up wins.

Many shots surrendered by the veteran stopper may not be his fault entirely, but as an NHL goaltender, he's paid to stop more than the routine chances.

Ten straight starts for Roman Turek appeared to be taking their toll, but the Flames have to ask themselves if the back up is the safer alternative.

The Flames started the contest off on the right foot carrying the better part of the play through the first twenty minutes, leading the Sabres in shots by a margin of 11 to six. At one point in the first the visiting side held a six to nil edge.

Things quickly disintegrated in the second period however.

Just 20 seconds into the second frame the Sabres broke a scoreless tie when J.P. Dumont recovered a shot blocked by Derek Morris and beat Mike Vernon.

The Flames didn't appear to be phased by the goal however, going straight back on the attack and forcing the play in the Buffalo zone.

The Sabres took a two goal lead three minutes later when Marc Savard was fingered for slashing.

Tim Connolly took full advantage on the ensuing powerplay after a feverish onslaught by the Sabres in the Flames zone that featured a few close calls sailing wide of the Flames goal.

The Sabres essentially salted things away five and a half minutes later on another powerplay, this time with Robyn Regehr serving time for roughing up the previous goal scorer, Tim Connolly.

The Sabres point leader, Miro Satan scored to put the Sabres up three goals as Regehr's penalty was winding down.

Through two periods the embattled Mike Vernon has surrendered three goals on 15 shots, for a two period save percentage of .600.

A come from behind tie in Ottawa the previous night might have had the Flames thinking an early goal might stem the tied in this one, but the Sabres put those thoughts to rest with an early goal of their own in the third.

Just like the second period, the Sabres scored in the period's first 20 seconds, this time 16 seconds in on a goal from Stu Barnes - also on a powerplay.

With a four goal margin the remainder of the game was a case of winding down the clock, something the Flames took advantage of by scoring two of their own.

First Steve Begin tipped in a Marc Savardslap shot to make the score 4-1.

Less than 20 seconds later Begin set up linemate Scott Nichol, and the former Buffalo farmhand capitalized for his 4th goal of the season.

James Patrick wrapped up the scoring to make it a 5-2 final.





1) Alex Zhitnick - assists on the Sabres first three goals.

2) Martin Biron - his early strong play gave the Sabres a chance to regroup and mount an attack.

3) Tim Connolly - sophomore pulls himself out of a scoring funk with a goal and a helper.


Somewhat of a no-hitter for the Calgary Flames, but that didn't stop Eric Rasmussen or Rob Ray from laying the body on numerous occasions through the night.


Martin Biron gets the nod for turning away the Flames Dean McAmmond on not one but two rebound attempts in the second period.


Even in a 5-2 pasting the Flames were very strong in the face off circle, winning 59% of the draws. ... Clarke Wilm led the way with a 70% victory rate, but Craig Conroy and Marc Savard were also on the positive side of the ledger. ... Chris Gratton won only 21% of his draws .... The Flames gave away the puck 11 times compared to Buffalo's eight. Eleven different Flames did the honors. ... Marc Savard led the way with six of the team's 31 shots. The Flames out shot the Sabres by a margin of 31-22. ... Mike Vernon made 17 saves on 22 shots, moving his save percentage from .854 to .829. ... Jarome Iginla failed to tie his own, shared, club record for consecutive games with points, as he came up empty for the first time in 16 games. Iginla only had one shot on goal in the game. ... His left wing, Dean McAmmond, also saw his point streak snapped at eight games. ... The loss moves the Flames record to 13-3-4-2 on the season, good for 2nd place in the Western Conference. ... The Flames travel to Ohio to take on the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday. ... The Flames are now 1-3-0 in the second game of back to back contests. All three back to back losses have been authored by Mike Vernon. 



Please Take our Survey