The Flyers took to the ice in Buffalo for the second game of a back-to-back set with the lowly Sabres. Today’s late matinee comes off the heels of arguably the best Flyers win of the season Saturday, in which they thoroughly dominated a miserable Sabres squad, outshooting them 39-23 and rolling to a 3-0 victory.
Sunday proved that yes, the second verse is indeed the same as the first. The Flyers were once again the better team in every phase of the game. They peppered rookie goaltender Jonas Johansson (who actually kept the Sabres in the game through the first half of the game) for 38 shots.
After a scoreless first period, Sean Couturier, Michael Raffl, and James van Riemsdyk were able to help the Flyers breakthrough in a lopsided period. Those three goals were all the boys in orange and black would need, as they once again cruised to a 3-0 victory with the help of a fresh Carter Hart who made 28 stops of his own.
Flyers are back in action Tuesday vs the Pittsburgh Penguins, their first matchup since the season opener back in January.
Takeaways and Observations
- Outshooting your opponent is…good!
- It’s been no secret that this season the Flyers have struggled to both generate shots, as well as limit the opposition from getting them. Last year, the Flyers were the NHL’s top shot suppression and one of the best at generating them. We won’t go into depth about what’s been wrong — that’s a piece for another day, perhaps — but it’s certainly an issue. Until recently that it is. The Flyers have now generated nearly 40 shots in each of their last three games and have outshot the opposition as well. The Flyers were already doing a good job of capitalizing on the few chances they were getting, so throwing more shots to the net should help the team continue to create offense.
- Penalty kill gets back on track
- The Flyers penalty kill has been a disaster this season. Much like their shot differential totals, the shorthanded unit was one of the team’s strengths last year and now looks like an Achilles heel. They got a goliath-sized task this weekend against the Sabres who have the top power-play unit in the NHL. Surprisingly, the team was up to the task and held the Sabres unit scoreless through the weekend, no doubt a key reason they were able to come away with four points. Let’s see if they can keep this up.
- Provy finding his game
- I wouldn’t necessarily say that Ivan Provorov has been bad this season, or even underwhelming. But there have been times when he’s been a bit out of place or caught looking on some plays. This weekend, I believe he did a lot to re-establish himself. He was all over the ice this weekend against the Sabres, especially on the Flyers’ third goal of the afternoon in which he acted as a one-man cycle and kept a tired Buffalo unit pinned in their own zone. If the Russian Machine has been repaired, watch this defense solidify.
- The 700 Club
- A quick nod to Flyers coach Alain Vigneault on recording win number 700 in his career. AV has sneakily been one of the best coaches not just of his time, but in the league’s history. Think that’s an overstatement? That win places him in a tie with the much-maligned Mike Babcock for 8th all-time. Here’s hoping he can capture the Cup that has eluded him his entire career.