With the season seemingly on the line, the Flyers needed to come out and get a win against the Sabres. It seemed as if they would do just that in the 1st period as they scored twice, once off a deflected puck off Oskar Lindblom’s skate and another off a gritty goal from Joel Farabee as he reached behind Linus Ullmark to tap in a goal as Arttu Routsalanien’s delay of game penalty came to an end.
On top of this, the Flyers were able to kill off two penalties, one on Claude Giroux and one on Philippe Myers, during the first period to hold the Sabres to a goose egg at the end of one. They came out fighting and had the lead to show for it but it wouldn’t last them long as the Sabres came out firing in the second period.
The Sabres controlled the pace of the game at the beginning of the period and were rewarded for their pressure with two goals, one from Sam Reinhart at 16:04 and one from Ruotsalainen at 15:18, this being his first career goal and tied the game at two apiece. Even though the Sabres scored twice within a minute, the Flyers were still getting their chances, but they struggled to reach the back of the net.
Nicolas Aube-Kubel received a pass in the slot with a wide-open net in front of him but one-timed the shot over the net. Kevin Hayes continued his struggle this season as he turned the puck over which led to a Sabres breakaway that Carter Hart was able to stop with the help of Myers, who got away with a penalty on the play. Soon after, the Flyers looked to respond as Scott Laughton’s shot created a big scramble where the puck came to Hayes who tried to pull it to his forehand but lost control and the Sabres escaped danger unscathed again.
Soon after a shot wide bounced to Sean Couturier who looked to slam the puck home, but Ullmark made an outstanding effort and was able to get his stick on the puck and kept it out of the net.
A bad period of play from the Flyers was reflected in the score as the second ended tied at two. The Flyers knew that they needed two points to keep playoff hopes alive but the third period would prove that they didn’t have what it took to get the win.
After being stuck in their defensive zone for the beginning of the period, the Flyers broke out and Shayne Gostisbehere gave the Flyers a 3-2 off a nice feed from Farabee. The Flyers would soon go back to and kill another penalty, this time a hooking penalty on Aube-Kubel, and soon after the penalty kill Farabee got a breakaway chance but was unable to get one past Ullmark.
The Sabres came back and got a shot on the net that Hart covered but Dylan Cozens came in and poked at Hart which created a crowd and a lot of pushing and shoving. Miller and Hagg went off for roughing penalties although nothing much happened during the 4-on-4 play.
The Flyers looked to be in control of the game with four minutes left but an icing from Giroux proved to be problematic. The Sabres came back, won the faceoff, and went to work in the offensive zone. Eventually, Jeff Skinner was able to push one past Hart but it seemed to be kicked in off his skate. The refs reviewed the goal and determined that it was not a distinct kicking motion and the goal was allowed tying the game at three with three minutes to play.
The Flyers looked shaken after the goal and the Sabres easily came back to pot another one, this time from Rasmus Asplund, to give them a 4-3 lead. The Flyers tried to battle back as they pulled Hart with 1:42 left, but it wasn’t meant to be as Casey Mittelstadt scored on the empty net and won the game 5-3.
This was a game that the Flyers needed to win in order to keep their playoff hopes alive but failed to come through as the Sabres slammed their window of opportunity closed. With the trade deadline, tomorrow and the season seemingly over the only thing left to do is see if the Flyers decided to make any moves this season.