For nearly two periods, the Calgary Flames were dull, lifeless and boring. A 3-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres pushing the Flames to nine wins in their past 11 home contests is flattering, yet not entirely reflective of the game itself.
Make no mistake about it: this was a gritty game from the second the puck dropped. Young teams aren’t normally associated with being able to get the gritty win, usually reserved for the more veteran NHL teams, but that is exactly what this win was. The Flames didn’t have their best, but they made it work and turned it into two points.
While the Flames certainly lack high-end talent, the team’s work rate is rarely in question. The Flames struggled to get shots through on Nathan Lieuwen, making his first career NHL start, placing an even greater importance on winning the battles along the boards and playing a sound defensive game.
While these two characteristics having been lynchpins in the Flames’ successes this season, it can still be hard for a player to fully convince themselves of their importance when welcoming the worst team in the league into their building.
Something has to be said for being able to win when the Flames don’t play their best, or anywhere near it. To expect a team to be able to play at the utmost of their capabilities each and every night over the course of an 82-game regular season is absurd. To wonder how the Flames could come out of the gates so slow after returning home with two full days of rest is a fair argument, especially when playing the worst team in the league.
However, they got the job done in spite of it for another tick in the win column.