In what looked to be an easy game, statistically, was anything but that. Coach Alain Vigneault was able to summon enough coaching magic for the Flyers to overcome a three to zero third period deficit for an overtime win against the hapless Sabres of Buffalo.
CF:13 CA:15 CF%: 46.43%
The Flyers started the game with a little jump, but saw their legs snapped by an early penalty kill. The team seemed to be sleep walking against the Sabres who have been having even a harder time lately.
The Sabres were just quicker to the puck, and seemed intent on winning battles for the puck. The Flyers did not match the Sabres intensity, but still were able to keep the possession metrics close, only trailing the Sabres by two chances by the periods close.
The difference in the period, was a lost puck battle and awful defensive zone coverage. Oskar Lindblom lost a puck battle which allowed the Sabres to find a wide open Jokiharju who walked in and beat Elliott through the five hole. This period was defined by the type of chances, rather than the volume.
CF:25 CA:14 CF%: 35.90%
The Flyers were able to grab a dominant possession advantage in the second but lost ground on the Sabres, conceding two goals and ending the stanza down three to zero.
Defensive coverage was at the heart of the Flyers’ woes, but rather than gaping breakdowns, it was sloppy checking. The net effect was plays that looked to be harmless and fairly well covered, turned in to high danger chances. The Flyers were in the vicinity, but were not cancelling the players. This is the kind of coverage that has vexed them over the last month.
Third Period and Overtime
CF:16 CA:14 CF%: 53.33%
The Flyers clawed out a modest advantage in the period’s possession metrics, but were able to catch fire offensively over the period’s final 10 minutes, riding it to an overtime victory. They shortened their bench, and saw Kevin Hayes score early in the period to give them some hope.
But the Flyers’ offense went dormant over the next eight minutes and it seemed the team would fade quietly into the night. Captain Claude Giroux would kick start the team with a nice snipe from a Couturier set up.
They would then score with an empty net on a deflection to tie the game before Provorov deked his way to a Flyers’ victory. While the possession number were close, Philadelphia got the better of the chances, and were able to finish them, and that was the difference in the game.
BUF LW Victor Olofsson CF:15 CA:6 CF%: 71.43%
Olofsson had no problem generating chances, but was on the ice for both of the Flyers 5 v. 5 goals. In this case possession did not translate into success for Olofsson on this night.
BUF C Cody Eakin CF:4 CA:18 CF%18.18
Eakin looked like a corsi boat anchor, posting just awful possession metrics. He had a particularly rough night against the Laughton-Raffl-NAK combination, posting a minus eight differential. Even so, Eakin was able to grab a 5 V. 5 goal while allowing none.
CF:54 CA:43 CF%: 55.67%
The possession metrics would seem to indicate a relatively comfortable win for the Flyers, likely carried by a very strong second period. In reality they needed to fight like crazy in a desperate third period to tie the game. In a game they trailed after two periods, and looked rather lifeless, it was a great effort to complete the comeback, but this team needs to get better starts if they have any chance at the playoffs