BUFFALO, N.Y. -- It may not be pretty, but the Calgary Flames are learning how to win the ugly way.
Center Matt Stajan scored 42 seconds into overtime and center Paul Byron had two points to lead Calgary to a 2-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday.
The game featured few clear scoring opportunities, as the teams combined for 11 penalties, but the Flames (13-5-4) came out on top on Stajan's sixth goal of the season.
"I'd rather only talk about the third period, because the first 40 (minutes), I don't know how it was from the press box or the stands, but from the bench ugly is a gentle word," Flames coach Bob Hartley said.
"But we found a way to win and that's the most important thing."
It was the first victory for Calgary in Buffalo since 1996. Stajan beat Sabres goalie Jhonas Enroth on a wrist shot from inside the left circle in the extra session.
"It was a sloppy game, no doubt about it," Stajan said. "We had chances, both goalies made some saves. ... There was a lot of penalties. It was a weird game all over and I'm just happy we got the win."
Left winger Matt Moulson scored for the Sabres (7-23-3), and Enroth had 24 saves.
It was a successful return to Buffalo for Byron and defenseman Chris Butler, whose combined efforts tied the game 8:19 into the third period.
Byron received the puck beside the net from Butler, who made his way around the Sabres' net to create the open opportunity. Butler and Byron were traded from Buffalo to Calgary in June 2011.
"Fun to play against these guys; fun to get a win," Butler said. "With (Byron) and I both playing here before, it's special. It's always fun to come back here. I enjoyed 2 1/2 years here and it was a big part of the start of my career."
Byron also assisted on Stajan's game-winner and was one of the best players on the ice. The diminutive forward has been gaining confidence in recent games and has four points in his last two outings.
Byron's efforts have the forward set to keep his place in the Flames' lineup after beginning the season in Abbotsford with Calgary's AHL affiliate.
"I feel that he had a great camp, but we had lots of players and we decided that it was maybe better for Paul to go back to Abbotsford to get some playing time, but right now he's flying," Hartley said.
"He's on the puck like he's buzzing. He's smart with the puck and he's giving us great minutes up front ... so he's finding a way to spend Christmas in Calgary."
Goaltender Karri Ramo was strong between the pipes for the Flames, making 26 saves and helping his team kill off all five Buffalo power plays.
The Sabres continue to struggle at finding the back of the net.
It was the 17th game this season in which the Sabres have scored one goal or none. The bounces didn't go Buffalo's way against Calgary, as the Sabres hit goal posts on four separate occasions.
"That's been the theme here for a while," Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan said. "We've got to learn to put it in or get some breaks. We hit four goal posts."
Moulson gave the Sabres a 1-0 lead 5:40 into the third period following a pretty feed from rookie center Zemgus Girgensons.
Girgensons raced into the Calgary end along the right side of the ice and went toward the end line before sending a nifty backhand feed through traffic to Moulson, stationed in the slot, and Buffalo's leading goal scorer buried his shot for his 11th goal.
The 19-year-old Girgensons has been playing at a high level as of late and has five points in his last seven games.
Each team found the back of the net in the first period only to have the goals overturned.
Buffalo left winger Ville Leino put a loose puck in the Calgary crease into the net midway through the first period but not before Flames center Matt Stajan knocked the net off its pegs.
Calgary left winger Mike Cammalleri beat Enroth late in the first period for an apparent goal, but it was quickly waved off because the Flames had too many men on the ice, drawing a penalty.
Sabres forward Cody McCormick left the game because of an upper body injury and did not return.
NOTES: Sabres C Cody Hodgson missed his second game in a row because of a lower-body injury. Buffalo recalled C Matt Ellis from Rochester to take Hodgson's place in the lineup. Ellis, 32, is captain of the AHL's Rochester Americans and scored the winning shootout goal in Rochester's outdoor game Friday night. ... D Mark Pysyk and C Luke Adam also were scratched for the Sabres. ... C Blair Jones, LW TJ Galiardi and D Christopher Breen were scratched for the Flames. ... This was Calgary RW David Jones' 300th NHL game. ... This was the first meeting between the two teams in two years.