FINAL PHI 6-3 BUF
PHI: Read (8) Assists: Gudas, Cousins
BUF: (PP) Kane (24) Assists: Eichel, Ristolainen
PHI: Gudas (4) Assist: Couturier
BUF: Eichel (17) Assist: O’Reilly
PHI: Weal (2) Assists: Voracek, Couturier
PHI: Giroux (13) Assists: Weal, Del Zotto
PHI: VandeVelde (6) Assists: Del Zotto, Konecny
PHI: Konecny (8) Assist: Gudas
BUF: Eichel (18) Assists: Franson, Kane
The action got started very early on as Nick Deslauriers and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare tossed the mits almost 3 minutes into the game. Deslaurier caught Bellemare with a fury of rights and the two nearly fell into the Sabres bench. The ref got cut by a skate and caused an extended stoppage. Deslaurier easily won the fight but it was a good tilt by both. Following the ensuing faceoff, Lehner made an outstanding sprawling save. Moments later a Matt Read slap shot would sneak through Lehner and into the net giving the Flyers a 1-0 lead. The goal was ultimately caused by yet another Eichel giveaway. The puck has been like metal to an opponent’s magnetic stick for him lately.
Buffalo played an extremely sloppy first half of the opening period. In the 1st 10 minutes alone Buffalo gave up way too many opportunities for the Flyers to score. The Sabres would take the game’s first penalty with 8:08 to go in the opening period. Josh Gorges would go for interference. Wayne Simmonds would get a glorious opportunity 20 seconds into the man advantage with a deflection that Lehner shut down. Lehner would once more stall the Flyers on a scoring chance from Claude Giroux. Lehner stood on his head on this penalty kill. The Sabres would finally get a glimmer of hope when awarded a power play. Evander Kane would rip a wrister from the top of the left faceoff circle short side, tying the game at 1. Eichel got an assist, extending his point streak to 11 games.
Franson would be penalized almost immediately after this for what else, interference. Buffalo’s penalty kill looked strong in the 1st even if most of it was courtesy of Lehner. The Sabres would need to once more field the PK unit when Eichel took a minor for the Flyers’ 3rd poweplay of the first. The period ends with some shoving, and we go to intermission tied at 1.
Period 2 is underway with 30 seconds remaining on the penalty kill. The Sabres would kill it off and Eichel would get a good breakout opportunity. The Sabres would get a promising looking opportunity once more but play would stop because the puck was played with a high stick. 5 minutes into the 2nd Radko Gudas sniped a snapshot top shelf. Lehner had no chance here.Two minutes later, Reinhart would feed a brilliant pass to Moulson who couldn’t beat Flyer goalie Steve Mason. About a minute later Kane’s impact would be felt once more as he drew a penalty. O’Reilly would win the draw straight to Eichel, and wouldn’t you know it, the kid buries another one! 2-2 midway through the 2nd. This is Eichel’s 100th career point.
Philly would take another penalty 11 minutes into the period. Not much happened on this PP for the Sabres as they move to 2/3 on the night. Play would shift back and forth for the few minutes before and after this until Jakub Voracek would pass a puck to the front of the net that would bounce off of Jordan Weal’s skate to put Philadelphia back on top 3-2. The Flyers would strike once more 4 minutes later on a Claude Giroux rebound to jump ahead 4-2. Bylsma would challenge for interference as it seemed Simmonds pushed Gorges into the goaltender. Lehner would get sarcastic cheers on his next save despite not being able to do much on 3 of the goals. Shame on you if you were one of those people. Period ends 4-2.
The 3rd would begin and it wouldn’t take long for the scoring chances to come. Kane would hit a post on an open net and Buffalo controlled play for the first 2 and a half minutes of the period. This wouldn’t last of course as Michael Del Zotto would rip a wrister past Lehner for a 5-2 lead. Nothing much Lehner can do again here.
The goal was followed by a bizarre moment where a Radko Gudas clearing attempt would hit the scoreboard and stop play. 2 minutes later Travis Konecny would take on 5 Sabres and mosey deep into the Sabres zone for a 6th Flyers goal. At this point there was a let’s go Flyers chant, which really could have been from Sabres or Flyers fans in this audience. The Sabres started playing tough with 9 minutes to go, checking the Flyers in the offensive zone. This would be a wonderful strategy had the team not been down 4 goals. Perhaps coach Bylsma will discover this innovative technique and try it when it matters one day. Buffalo would head to the power play for slashing.
Eichel, Reinhart, Kane and McCabe seem to have been the only ones trying at this point. Boos rained down as the Sabres gave a horrible effort on the power play. By the way, McCabe was a -5 and Ristolainen -4. With 5:10 to go, Jack scores once more. Instead of cheering, I wince, as it is just embarrassing how much he needs to carry on this team. I feel bad for the kid. We all love you, Jack.
Philly wins 6-3 as the clock mercifully strikes zero. Sabres are now 1-5-2 in their last 8.