The Philadelphia Flyers won their first shootout of the season in a 5-4 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night. It didn’t look like they’d have a chance after falling behind 3-1 early, but they battled back for a much-needed win against a lowly Buffalo Sabres squad.
The Flyers and Sabres traded solid shifts to start the game, which is fine under normal circumstances, but not as great against the worst team in the league. After back-to-back losses to the Penguins and Capitals, the Flyers needed to be better against the Sabres. That was needed from the get-go and it didn’t happen.
They did get out to an early lead, however. The top line went to work after Travis Sanheim kept the puck in at the line. Sean Couturier passed to Joel Farabee, who fed James van Riemsdyk for a one-time goal.
That should have helped get things going for the Flyers. But it didn’t. They were able to generate chances throughout the rest of the period, but that was the only goal they scored in the opening frame.
Scott Laughton was flipped onto his head on the faceoff after the goal.
Luckily, he was okay and returned to the game, but the referees definitely missed a call here.
The Sabres, however, scored three times. The Flyers’ defensive woes continued against a Jack Eichel-less Sabres team.
Sam Reinhart tied the game less than three minutes after JVR’s goal.
Just five minutes after that, the Sabres took the lead. Riley Sheahan found a loose puck in front as the Flyers were searching for it and backhanded it past Hart.
You’d like to see someone get a body or stick on Sheahan there.
And the Sabres weren’t done.
After some pressure by the Flyers, Buffalo made it a two-goal game. Once again it was Reinhart unmarked in front of the net.
That brought the boo birds out, and rightfully so. The Flyers may have had more shot attempts and scoring chances, but giving up three first-period goals to these Sabres is inexcusable.
The Flyers trailed 3-1 after one period of play.
Brian Elliott replaced Carter Hart to start the frame. Hart didn’t look great and the team needed a jolt.
It looked like the Flyers remembered who they were playing in the second period and came out with some jump. They didn’t score on the leftover power-play time, but it built to something.
Kevin Hayes got the Flyers back within one goal less than three minutes into the period. Scott Laughton made a great move around the defensemen to feed Hayes, who went top shelf from a tough angle.
It gave the Flyers some energy, but unfortunately, it was short-lived.
Less than four minutes later, the Sabres made it a two-goal game again.
Brandon Montour took a shot that ramped up off of Shayne Gostisbehere’s stick and just over Elliott’s shoulder. It was a bad goal to give up, especially given the timing.
Both teams didn’t have great defensive games in this one. That would be okay, but the Flyers are fighting for their playoff lives (it’s only early March, but still), while the Sabres are just trying to climb out of the basement.
The Flyers did get back within one before the end of the period, however. After two failed power play tries in short succession, the captain got one.
Ivan Provorov sent the puck down to Jakub Voracek, who passed it to Claude Giroux in the crease.
The captain lifted the defenseman’s stick and slammed it home. He was fired up.
The Flyers were back within one goal … again.
The Sabres had a few chances after that to extend their lead again. However, they either missed the net or Elliott had the answer.
Elliott made a big save in the final minutes of the period to keep the Flyers within one goal.
The Flyers outplayed the Sabres in both periods, but it was much more evident in the second frame. They led in 5-on-5 shot attempts 17-8, shots on goal 9-5, and scoring chances 9-4.
The third period started off sloppily with an icing and offsides, but then the Flyers picked it up. The first half of the third period felt largely like a Flyers power play. They had plenty of offensive-zone time and chances, but weren’t able to do anything with it.
The Sabres got a few chances of their own, however, and Elliott made another big save (or two) to keep the Flyers within one.
Jakub Voracek was one of the more domiant offensive presences in the game for the Flyers with his shot total. He nearly tied it in the third period, but couldn’t reach the rebound.
Travis Sanheim drew a penalty around the seven-minute mark with a great move through the slot.
It was a huge power-play opportunity for the Flyers to tie the game.
And they did.
Gostisbehere blasted a vintage Ghost Bomb from the point.
The game was tied up late in the third period.
The third period didn’t end without some dramatics, however. Voracek was called for a tripping penalty with just over two minutes remaining in the period. Luckily, the Flyers were able to kill it off and head to overtime.
The overtime period was largely uneventful. Couturier had a breakaway chance in the first minute, but he was denied.
After that, the Sabres played very passively and seemed to be content with going to a shootout … and we did.
Sean Couturier opened the shootout with a goal. He skated in and elected to shoot, and it worked.
Brian Elliott stopped the Sabres’ first shot, giving the Flyers a 1-0 lead through one round.
Nolan Patrick followed Couturier’s lead and scored on a great shot.
The bench loved it.
Elliott had a chance to clinch the victory with a save, and he did just that.
It wasn’t the easiest of games, but a win is a win. It’s two points that the Flyers needed desperately after two losses this weekend.