In a game that the Flyers desperately needed to win, the boys in orange let the Buffalo Sabres break an 18 game winless streak in a 6-1 loss. From very early on it appeared to not be the Flyers night, with bad puck luck and even worse defensive zone coverage, they were basically finished by the end of the second period.
CF:19 CA:14 CF%:57.58%
The Flyers actually looked to be the stronger team in the first period, using a strong forecheck to take the advantage as the possession metrics indicate. The Sabres, who have been luckless for most of the month, finally got a break when a shot that looked to be well wide of the net deflected off of Justin Braun and into the net, giving the them a 1-0 lead. It would be hard to find fault with any Flyer on this play, just a spate of bad luck.
The second goal was more familiar, as a blocked shot from the point turned into a partial breakaway. Braun was able to thwart the breakaway, and Provorov was able to cover a streaking winger at the goal mouth, but the Flyers forwards failed to back check. Thus leaving Curtis Lazar alone in the slot for a pass which he shot past Elliott.
A bad bounce and thirty seconds of lazy play put the Flyers down two goals, undermining a good effort.
CF:16 CA:17 CF%: 48.48%
The Flyers started the period with a strong push, building off a fruitless, but strong powerplay effort and netting a goal and even building a 11-0 shot advantage. Even with 10 minutes of dominating play, where they scored, they would concede a goal with two Flyers failing to tie up a Sabre in the slot.
After the Sabres rebuilt their two goal lead, the Flyers seemed to lose their energy as the Sabres would take control of the period and start to dominate the scoring chances. The Flyers would buckle again under Sabres pressure, again failing to cover a player on the doorstep. The fourth goal would end the night for Elliott, literally and effectively ended the team’s chances.
CF: 14 CA:8 CF%: 63.64
The Flyers would look to ignite third period heroics for the second time in a row against the Sabres, but it was not to be. While they would control play, they did not look nearly as dangerous as they did in the two periods prior. Missed passes and fumble pucks took them out of sync.
The Sabres would score two short handed goals, an empty netter to make the score 5-1, followed by a backhander of a rebound for the night’s final goal.
PHI C Claude Giroux CF:21 CA:5 CF%: 80.77%
Giroux had a great possession night, and while he was able to help create prolonged shifts in the offensive zone, he did not have much of an impact generating high quality scoring chances for himself.
PHI C Connor Bunnaman CF:2 CA:12 CF%: 14.29
Bunnaman did not have an auspicious return to the line up, posting some poor possession metrics to go along with a -2 +/- rating. Bunnaman has had some rough nights when it comes to possession, but he and his linemates need to do much better against a depleted and down trodden Sabres team.
CF:49 CA:39 CF% 55.68%
Shot quality trumped quantity and the Sabres won in a walk despite being out chanced. As relieved as the Sabres must feel gaining their first win in 18 games, the Flyers must feel just as frustrated. They played fairly well for long stretches of the game, and likely deserved more than their one goal. However they also played badly in the defensive zone, again, and it seemed the Sabres were able to bury every chance.
While there were plenty of positives, more than their come back victory over the Sabres, the dwindling schedule and the Flyers continual fall in the standings makes it hard to appreciate silver linings. They need to get it together soon if they want to make a push for the playoffs.