The Philadelphia Flyers went into Buffalo for a two-game set and came away with two easy victories against the Sabres. It was a 3-0 shutout win in both contests.
Sean Couturier, Michael Raffl, and James van Riemsdyk scored for the Flyers. Joel Farabee also had two assists. Hart made 28 saves in a bounce-back shutout effort after last Sunday’s loss at Lake Tahoe.
Be sure to check out our live in-game analysis “Fleeting Flyers Thoughts“
The start of the first period was rather choppy on both sides. Both teams struggled to get shots through and on net in the first half of the period. The Sabres nearly opened the scoring as Curtis Lazar hit the corner of the post with a shot – it appeared that it went in, but that wasn’t the case after review.
The Flyers’ third line came down the ice immediately after that with a great chance and drew a penalty. That’s the difference an inch can make.
The Flyers hit a post of their own on the power play as Claude Giroux‘s shot rang off iron. They didn’t score, but they looked much better than they have.
Their new top power-play unit had an interesting setup, however. James van Riemsdyk was at the netfront with Shayne Gostisbehere at the point. Giroux was in his usual spot with Joel Farabee in the slot and Sean Couturier on the other side. It’s similar to the power-play setup that was so good years ago and it seems like a good strategy given their personnel.
Despite the 0-0 tie, the Flyers were the better team in the first period and it felt like they should have a lead. They had a 69.44 CF% (25-11 shot attempts) at 5-on-5 in the period and a 19-9 advantage in shots on goal and 14-6 scoring chances (8-3 high-danger).
The Flyers made that feeling a reality yet again with two quick goals early in the second period.
Sean Couturier showed just how good he is by taking Jack Eichel to school to enter the zone and then dunking on the center to get the Flyers on the board.
75 seconds after the Flyers’ first goal, they got another. Michael Raffl won a faceoff back to Phil Myers, who fed Robert Hagg for a one-time blast. Raffl was in the slot after the faceoff and deflected it home.
The Sabres then had a great chance, but somehow Carter Hart kept the puck out. Brandon Montour appeared to shoot the puck directly into Hart, which will always help. Things opened up a bit after that, but Hart made a huge save on Kyle Okposo to keep the Flyers up 2-0.
You don’t want to necessarily see a lot of open hockey with a two-goal lead, however. The Flyers got away from that with some offensive-zone time thanks to a fantastic shift by Ivan Provorov to tire out the Sabres defense. He then passed it across to Farabee, and JVR deflected it home for a 3-0 lead.
Here’s the entire shift by Provorov. He’s a machine.
Ivan Provorov is a machine. pic.twitter.com/rqOszCqMc9
— Philly Hockey Now (@phillyhockeynow) February 28, 2021
The Flyers had a 69.44 CF% (25-11 shot attempts) at 5-on-5 in the period. They had a 19-9 advantage in shots on goal and 14-6 scoring chances (8-3 high-danger). It was good to see them get rewarded with a 3-0 lead at the end of the period.
The third period started with some scary moments for the Flyers.
The Sabres started the period with some leftover power-play time after an offensive-zone penalty by Voracek late in the second period. The Flyers killed it off, but Buffalo kept at it and drew another penalty. Even with their league-best power play, the Flyers kept them off the board yet again.
Sunday’s third period was much like Saturday’s. With a 3-0 lead again, the Flyers were happy to keep the Sabres to the outside and calmly control the puck when they had it. They played with a lead without going into a shell. It may have been a bit more Sabres-heavy than Saturday’s third period, but Hart wasn’t fazed.
The Flyers completed the shutout for a 3-0 win. They’ll return to action on Tuesday night in Pittsburgh.