Fleeting Flyers Thoughts: Live in-game analysis of Flyers at Sabres
We’re trying something new here at Philly Hockey Now. Rather than having just a standard postgame recap, we’re going to go period by period with thoughts, analysis, and whatever comes across our minds.
Sometimes plays that are important in the first period get cut out of the bigger story of the game. Fleeting Flyers Thoughts is an attempt to give an accurate picture of how the game unfolds.
Flyers at Sabres: Projected lines, game notes, and three things to watch
We’ll update this at every intermission and at the end of the game.
Flyers at Sabres third-period thoughts
The Sabres had a few chances in the first 30 seconds, but the Flyers survived and were able to clear the zone. Buffalo kept pushing, however.
The Flyers pushed back with a great chance by the third line, but Voracek’s tip on Lindblom’s dangerous pass wouldn’t go. Laughton had a chance in front less than a minute later as well.
The fourth line kept it up with Nicolas Aube-Kubel stealing the puck in the offensive zone and feeding Michael Raffl, but he hit the post.
The Sabres came right back, however, but Elliott had the answers when the skaters in front of him couldn’t clear.
Flyers at Sabres second-period thoughts
The second period got off to a choppy start with various whistles for offsides and icing.
Kevin Hayes went for a long stretch pass on one of those icings and couldn’t connect, and the Sabres got a good shot on net after the ensuing faceoff. The Flyers were able to clear the zone and got a cycle of their own going. Joel Farabee continues to impress in his sophomore season.
Random second-period thought: Once Konecny comes off the COVID list (hopefully on Sunday), how does the lineup look? Konecny could easily replace Patrick on the second line and Bunnaman in the lineup. The Flyers would then have to slide Laughton down from 3C to 4C or put Patrick at 4C. Given the two’s skillsets, Laughton at 4C makes more sense with a Lindblom – Patrick – Voracek third line.
The Sabres had another few chances toward the midpoint of the period.
The Flyers have been the better team for much of the game thus far, yet only lead 1-0. They’re going to need to capitalize on their offensive-zone time before the Sabres get one back.
Farabee has been particularly strong on the puck, and the whole team has been able to enter the zone with control and set up a cycle in the offensive zone.
Sanheim made another good play in the offensive zone to set up a chance in front, but Giroux’s deflection in front was denied. It’s been a good game for Sanheim in Buffalo.
Unfortunately, the Flyers were unable to get that second goal before taking a second-period penalty. The Sabres got a chance to get back into the game. Buffalo was missing Jack Eichel in this game and perhaps that was the difference between them scoring and not.
Laughton made a good decision to make a move and get the puck on net while entering the zone after the kill. He didn’t have much support but put the puck on net for a faceoff.
The Flyers had another great chance with the second line on the ice. Patrick showed off his skill to control the puck and set up Giroux.
Then they got another one.
JVR sent a pass in space to Gostisbehere, who beat Hutton on a breakaway to put the Flyers up 2-0.
It was a much-needed and well-deserved goal for the Flyers, who dominated the second period.
And they weren’t done.
The new third line went to work and Scott Laughton scored a gorgeous goal.
A great passing play by Voracek and Lindblom to set up Laughton for the filthy finish.
The Sabres had a chance in the waning seconds, but the Flyers took a 3-0 lead into the second intermission.
It’s good to see from the Flyers, who have been the better team in this one.
Flyers at Sabres first-period thoughts
Justin Braun was tested right away and was able to keep Curtis Lazar to the outside. I still don’t think healthy scratching Philippe Myers for him is an ideal lineup move. I understand the Flyers’ upcoming stretch of games, but they just had plenty of time off. The Flyers only have three definitive top-four defensemen and scratching one of them isn’t ideal.
The third line had some nice jump to start the game. Jakub Voracek controlled the puck nicely in the offensive zone and created a chance from the slot for Scott Laughton. The fourth line kept the pressure on in a good first few minutes for the Orange and Black.
Shayne Gostisbehere made an ill-advised pass near his own net, but Sam Reinhart had been holding Claude Giroux and went off for a penalty.
The new top power-play unit personnel is pretty good. They have Giroux in his usual spot, Patrick in front, Voracek in the middle, Gostisbehere on the far side, and Gustafsson at the point. They only got set up in the zone for 20 or 30 seconds, but they looked good out there. Could be a sign of things to come.
The Sabres got their first power play of the game a few minutes later, and somehow they have the best power-play scoring rate in the league. They had some zone time on this one, but nothing got past Brian Elliott as the Flyers took away some lanes.
The Flyers appeared to be just off in the latter half of the period. They had some chances and solid rushes, but the pass was off by a tad. Hopefully, that’ll improve as the game moves along.
And it did.
Travis Sanheim pinched up the wall nicely and set up Sean Couturier for the opening goal.
It was a good play and gave the Flyers some momentum. The second line had a great scoring chance on their next shift and drew a penalty.
They nearly made the Sabres pay. Couturier’s power-play unit had some great puck movement and just barely missed on a chance.
But the power play went 0-for-2 in the first period.
The Flyers take a 1-0 lead into the first intermission thanks to Sanheim setting up Couturier. Also thanks to Elliott, who made six saves in the period.