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5 Observations: Flyers Fall to Sabres, 2-1, in Second Preseason Game

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Travis Konecny Philadelphia Flyers
Flyers right winger Travis Konecny scored a first-period goal Tuesday to knot the score at 1-1 against the host Buffalo Sabres.

In a preseason matchup of teams trying to get back to respectable times, the Philadelphia Flyers fell to the Buffalo Sabres, 2-1, at the KeyBank Center on Tuesday night.

Philly slipped to 1-1 in the less-than-artistic contest, while Buffalo improved to 2-0.

Here are five quick observations:

1. Travis Konecny had an eventful first period.

Playing right wing on a line with Morgan Frost and James van Riemsdyk, Konecny tied the game at 1-1 with 5:18 left in the opening stanza. He took a pass from JVR, broke ahead of the pack with a burst of speed and beat 41-year-old goalie Craig Anderson with a right-circle shot to the short side.

He sat out a couple of shifts after crashing into the end boards following his goal, but he returned and seemed fine.

Konecny, 25, who played in his first preseason game this year, is coming off a season in which he managed just 16 goals. GM Chuck Fletcher challenged him the other day, and Konecny seems ready for a bounce-back season.

2. Troy Grosenick played the first two periods and had some good and bad moments.

The 33-year-old goaltender, who had an outstanding 2021-22 AHL season with the Providence Bruins, is bidding to win the backup goalie spot, behind Carter Hart.

An all-alone Brandon Biro beat him with a deft, short-side shot from the left circle with 11:36 to go in the first. Grosenick’s best stop was probably when he denied Jeff Skinner’s backhander as he was alone in front with about nine minutes left in the first.

Two post shots saved Grosenick in the second period, but he also made a terrific point-blank save on Tage Thompson. A short time later, Biro again beat Grosenick, who may have been screened, on a 40-foot shot from the right side.

All in all, a so-so performance from the goaltender as he stopped 12 of 14 shots.

3. The Flyers, using just five forwards expected to be regulars, had little attack time.

That could be a common theme this season, especially if top-line center Sean Couturier is sidelined for for a long time. (Fletcher will update Couturier’s status Wednesday.)

The expected regular forwards who played: Konecny, Frost, JVR, Noah Cates, and Zack MacEwen.

4. The Flyers blew a golden chance early in the third period.

Trailing 2-1, they had a five-on-three for 1:29, but managed just two harmless shots and watched Buffalo twice clear the puck down the ice. Not good.

5. Buffalo goalie Malcolm Subban had the Cates brothers shaking their heads.

Subban denied Noah Cates on a good opportunity early in the third period, and with 4:31 remaining, he turned aside a ticketed blast from Jackson Cates from the high slot.

The Cates brothers played on the same line and the same PK unit. Noah is the favorite the win the Philadelphia Flyers’ third-line left-wing spot. Jackson, whose game has improved from last year, is a candidate for the 4C position.

Breakaways

Sam Ersson played the third period and stopped all seven shots he faced for the Flyers. … Both teams had just 21 shots. … Cam York played a team-high 22:30 and was minus-1 and had two shots. … Adam Brooks won six of eight faceoffs, and Ronnie Attard blocked three shots for Philly. … The Flyers and Sabres don’t meet in the regular season until March 4. … On Wednesday, the Flyers will host Washington in their third preseason game. The game will be televised on NBC Sports Philadelphia+. … The Flyers killed three penalties and are now 9 for 9 in the preseason.

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