CALGARY – The all-star break did little to cool down Michael Cammalleri.
The Calgary forward continued his torrid scoring stretch with three more goals as the Flames downed the Buffalo Sabres 5-2 on Wednesday night.
Cammalleri has scored eight times during a four-game goal-scoring streak, giving him 25 on the season and moving him past Jarome Iginla for the team lead. He has 11 goals and two assists during a seven-game points streak.
“Obviously it’s going in for me right now and it feels pretty good when the puck’s going in like that. It definitely adds to the confidence level and the stick feels pretty comfortable in your hands,” said Cammalleri.
A pending unrestricted free agent, Cammalleri’s career high of 34 goals came in 2006-07 while with the Los Angeles Kings.
Cammalleri’s goals weren’t always pretty, which could actually be a sign of how well things are going for the 26-year-old. This was particularly evident was on his second goal that made it 4-2 at 11:44 of the third period.
Iginla fed a cross-ice pass to Cammalleri, who one-timed a shot on a goal. However, this time Cammalleri fanned on the shot, but the puck trickled through the pads of a shaky Ryan Miller.
“I’ve played a lot of games in college against Ryan Miller, he’s always been the opposite, ultra-stingy, so it was lucky to get a lucky one on him,” said Cammalleri.
Although peppered for 43 shots, including 19 in the third period, Cammalleri’s fluky goal frustrated Miller.
“Not very like me, I definitely have to be better, especially on the road and especially for a team that needs some points.,” said Miller. “It doesn’t matter what the shots on goal are, It’s my job to keep the boys in the game and give them a chance to win and unfortunately I didn’t really feel like I did a very good job of that tonight.”
Cammalleri completed his second hat-trick of the season 1:24 later, knocking in Iginla’s centring pass from the top of the crease.
Todd Bertuzzi and Dion Phaneuf also scored for the Flames (29-14-4), winners of six of their last eight overall and nine of 10 at the Pengrowth Saddledome. Calgary entered the night leading the Northwest Division by nine points.
Drew Stafford and Tim Connolly scored for Buffalo (25-19-5), now 2-2-0 during a season-high six-game road swing.
Tied 2-2 entering the third, Todd Bertuzzi scored the go-ahead goal at 7:08 ,stepping around Sabres defenceman Toni Lydman at the Buffalo blue-line and roofing a perfect shot under the crossbar.
Prior to that, Miikka Kiprusoff kept the scored tied with several key stops, including acrobatically jabbing out his pad to thwart Daniel Paille as he cut across the crease.
“We worked really hard to get back in the game to make it 2-2 and to make it a 20 minute game in the third,” said Stafford. “We did hit a couple posts, Paille made a great play going to the net, but their goalie made some great saves.”
Kiprusoff won his NHL-leading 29th game (29-14-4).
After erupting for 10 goals Tuesday night in Edmonton, Buffalo’s offence was blanked by the Flames for the first half of the game.
Calgary opened the scoring at 3:51 of the first period, capitalizing on a bad giveaway by rookie Sabres defenceman Chris Butler.
From behind his net, Butler’s clearing attempt up the middle was knocked down by Cammalleri in front of the net who on his own rebound was able to slide the puck under Miller.
The Flames took a 2-0 lead at 4:10 of the second period when Phaneuf scored from a bad angle.
Trailing 2-0, the Sabres finally got on the scoreboard at 11:33 of the second period on Stafford’s 13th goal. Coming off a three-goal performance against the Oilers, Stafford circled out of the corner and after having his first shot stopped, he snapped in the rebound.
That goal seemed to really spur on the Sabres, who poured on the pressure the rest of the second eventually tying it on Connolly’s goal with 59 seconds left in the period.
“We were a little big sluggish in the first period and in the second period we got our legs under us,” said Buffalo’s Derek Roy. “In the third, we missed those chances and they scored on that one chance on the breakaway and after that our legs weren’t there any more.”
Notes: Iginla has a five-game points streak (one goal, seven assists), as does Aucoin (six assists)… Buffalo C Adam Mair missed his first game of the season after suffering a cut to his leg Tuesday night in Edmonton. That opened up a spot for LW Andrew Peters, who dressed for the first time in nine games… The Flames improve to 13-3-1 when Cammalleri scores a goal… Rookie Flames RW Brandon Prust (jaw) is back practising and is close to returning to the line-up. He has missed 21 games… Buffalo RW Jason Pominville has gone 11 games without scoring. However, he was on a five-game points streak (eight assists) that ended Wednesday”.