Well, it happened. The Buffalo Sabres broke their record losing streak against the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night. The Sabres had lost 17 games in a row coming into the two-game set. It looked like they’d get a win on Monday night, but the Flyers’ miraculous third-period comeback put that on hold. Instead, the Sabres embarrassed the Flyers tonight to break their 18-game losing streak.
The Flyers losing to the Sabres to break their 18-game losing streak perfectly sums up how miserable March was for the team. They won back-to-back games just once in the month, and those came on Saturday and Monday. On the other hand, they had losses of 9-0, 8-3, and 6-1 in the span of nine days from March 17th to the 25th.
A back-breaking loss to one of the worst NHL teams in recent history was the cherry on top of the awful sundae that was the month of March.
Embarrassing effort in Buffalo
The Flyers started the game relatively strong. However, a goal off of Justin Braun‘s leg turned the tide. The Sabres then made it 2-0 two minutes and 27 seconds later after Braun hit a shinpad with a shot to spark an odd-man rush the other way.
There was a pushback late in the period by the Flyers, but they couldn’t get anything past Linus Ullmark. They entered the first intermission in a familiar position: trailing.
The first eight or so minutes of the second period looked like a completely different Flyers team. They got an early power play that they didn’t score on, but it gave them some momentum. The Flyers kept up the offensive-zone pressure and had the first 11 shots of the period, including their first goal of the game. Ivan Provorov scored with some help from Brandon Montour to cut the lead to 2-1. Then, it all turned around again.
Erik Gustafsson watched Sam Fogarty score his first NHL goal 9:42 into the second period. The Sabres then scored again just under six minutes later. That ended Brian Elliott‘s night after giving up four goals on 16 shots.
Alex Lyon entered the game and stopped the two shots he faced in the second period, but the damage was done. The Flyers once again trailed by three goals after two periods of play in Buffalo.
In a must-win game, the Flyers didn’t show much desperation early in the third period. They only had two shots on goal at the first commercial break, 7:44 into the final frame.
They had a better push as the period moved along, including a power play in the final seven minutes, but there wasn’t enough energy left. Alain Vigneault pulled Alex Lyon for the extra attacker midway through the power play, and Brandon Montour hit the empty net from his own zone to ice the game. Then, just to add salt to the wound, Montour got his own rebound for another shorthanded goal.
Flyers hit rock bottom
In a season full of lows, this loss to the Sabres is rock bottom.
The 9-0 loss to the Rangers just feels like a bump in the road. It was an embarrassing 7-0 second period, but at least the Rangers were playing decent hockey.
Hell, even the 8-3 loss eight days later at home to that same Rangers team at least had Sam Morin taking out the frustration on Brendan Lemieux.
The 6-1 loss? Been there, done that.
Mind you, all three of those losses happened within the past two weeks.
But this loss? It feels like one that the Flyers can’t bounce back from.
All of the Flyers’ flaws were on full display against the Sabres. Their poor goaltending showed up yet again with Elliott getting pulled and Lyon not doing much better. But it wasn’t all on them; the defensive breakdowns in front were there as well. The three new additions to the lineup –– Connor Bunnaman, Carsen Twarynski, and Erik Gustafsson –– even got outworked in a 3-on-2 battle in the corner before Gustafsson and Twarynski just watched as Steven Fogarty scored his first NHL goal.
Of course, a Flyers loss wouldn’t be complete without one bad bounce snowballing into more. They got that one out of the way early, though, with the opening goal bouncing in off of Justin Braun. Then, after a dominant start to the second period, they folded after the Sabres got one back on a bad defensive play.
It is all coming crashing down for the Flyers. Wednesday night’s effort in Buffalo was embarrassing.
Waiving Shayne Gostisbehere wasn’t the answer. Signing Cam York may provide some light in a dark time, but it’s not going to change much this season.
The Flyers are at rock bottom after an embarrassing loss to the Sabres.