Brian Elliott, Alex Lyon, and the rest of the Flyers strolled back into Buffalo for a rematch against a Sabres team who had tied a historic losing streak tonight. Obviously, things went worse than they could possibly imagine. Every facet of the game seemed to evaporate as the Sabres had their way with a downtrodden Flyers team in a 6-1 loss.
The Flyers came out pressing hard early, dominating in both the shot and chances categories early on. In fact, an attempt from Jake Voracek in the first 11 seconds nearly put the Flyers up early before glancing off of the post. Still, they couldn’t catch a break, as a Sam Reinhart shot caught Justin Braun’s pants and bounced in on Brian Elliott, putting the Sabres up one early in the first.
And just like that the Flyers jam vanished. Suddenly the offensive opportunities faded and the defense began to crumble. Braun got victimized again as his shot got blocked at the blue line, resulting in a footrace the other way. Braun was able to get back to try and tie up Conor Sheary, but he would find an unchecked Curtis Lazar in the slot for a blast that would put the Sabres up two.
In the final few minutes, Philadelphia put together a fantastic surge that rendered no fruit, but set a tone that the Orange and Black were not going to roll over like they did on Monday. And their second period backed that up. They came out firing, drawing an early penalty, and while they wouldn’t score on the ensuing man advantage, Ivan Provorov would knock home a dirty goal off a bunch of bodies soon after, putting the Flyers within one.
They must have felt generous though, because shortly after Steven Fogarty managed to walk into the slot unchecked by either Gustafsson or Twayrnski and managed to bury a shot past Elliot to reinstate the Sabres in this game. This would be Fogarty’s first career NHL goal, and only his second career point.
And things would only get worse as Fogarty would later find some open space in the zone and make great use of it, hitting Casey Mittelstadt on a perfect feed for yet another Sabres goal, putting the score at 4-1 Buffalo.
This would be the end of Brian Elliott tonight, as Flyers’ coach Alain Vigneault would decide that Alex Lyon would get some of his first NHL action this season. Lyon would stand tall in his few tests that period, and send the Flyers into the third down three to the Sabres for the second time in as many games.
The third period would be fairly uneventful. The Flyers would get some opportunities, but completely failed to cash in. The dagger would come late in the period as AV would pull Lyon when the Flyers were on the powerplay and Brandon Montour was able to dial in from his own zone to hit the empty net putting the game away.
The Sabres couldn’t let the Flyers get out easy though, as Montour would cash in again shorthanded with Lyon between the pipes, pushing the Flyers into an insurmountable 6-1 deficit with over three minutes remaining.
The Buffalo Sabres are a hockey team in freefall, and in two back-to-back games, the Flyers have looked thoroughly outgunned at every point. The team that showed up tonight is one that will not make the playoffs, much less even compete for them, and something needs to change if the Orange and Black are looking for some postseason action.
There are a lot of things you could blame for tonight, but ultimately all of them fall short. The Flyers are playing some terrible hockey right now, and the playoffs have gone from an almost certainty to a pipe dream.
The Flyers meet the Islanders this Saturday for some late night weekend hockey, and they will be looking to make some adjustments to cancel out a truly abysmal March.