Buffalo Sabres vs. Philadelphia Flyers 2/28/21 Game Recap

Final Score: 3-0 Flyers

The Sabres goal drought against the Flyers stands at 180 minutes.

The first half of the first period, things were not as bleak, the Sabres were pressing play and taking more shots than the Flyers. After that stretch, it was all Flyers and I mean it was all Flyers.

The graph above shows differential in Corsi (shot attempts) in all situation, not just 5v5.

All three Flyers goals came in the second period, by far the worst period for the Sabres. Courtier gobbled up a rebound without being tied up by Eichel or the retreating Dahlin less than a minute in. Just over a minute later, a tip-in by Raffl and finally an even more impressive tip-in from Van Riemsdyk in the latter stages of period capped off one of the most uninspiring periods of hockey the Sabres have played this season.

The closest the Sabres came to scoring is this shot from Curtis Lazar back in the first period, which somehow went bar-down, but spun out of the blue paint.

At this point, the story of the Sabres has become bigger than a single game recap. The organization appears to be fundamentally broken and against all odds — somehow in a worse position than each of the previous 10 seasons.

The Coach has run out of words, solutions and excuses. If things to continue to trend the way they are, it’d be embarrassing if he doesn’t find himself out of a job, too. It’s not about wishing somebody out of work, it’s about having standards.

Krueger was asked after the game if he has any worries about his job security and said, “Absolutely not.” While you can somewhat understand the Pegulas not wanting to fire another coach, Krueger and this group are simply just not working. It’s deeper than having your season interrupted due to COVID and deeper than suffering crucial injuries to the likes of McCabe and Ullmark. The on-ice product the Sabres have yielded this year is a monumental embarrassment — especially given the talent at the coach’s disposal. The players garner some of the blame, but at the end of the day, the coach is responsible for putting his players in a position to succeed. If you’re lucky, you can count on one hand how many Sabres players this year have played up to or exceeded their potential.

Game Trends:

Trending Up:

Jonas Johansson

How could Johansson possibly be trending up after a game like this? Simply put, without him, this game could have easily been 7-0. With two ridiculous tip-ins and another goal from not tying up sticks after the initial save was made, it is hardly Johansson’s fault for the loss. There is not much Johansson can do when the team cannot score.

Trending Down:

Scoring

The players looked slow, lost and frankly, checked out of the the system Ralph Krueger is trying to implement. Discussing defensive strategies, roster and lineup deployment and analytics are currently thrown out the window, they just need to score a goal at this point and we can reassess from there.

Ralph Krueger‘s Week

It has been a tough end to the month for Sabres Head Coach Ralph Krueger. The calls for his firing were plentiful and do not expect that train to stop anytime soon. He’s not on the ice hitting multiple posts a game or having lapses that turn into goals against, but he is the coach, so he shoulders the blame. Things took an interesting turn after the game when new developments came up about Eichel’s scratch Saturday against the Flyers.

Digging deeper into the issue, the explanation Krueger provides takes a healthy amount of deciphering to understand why the confusion took place.

When I mentioned it, the specific region that actually took him out of the game, the first time I’d heard about it was warm-up. But that he was injured and he came out of that Jersey game injured was clear to me, but it turns out that there was multiple lower-body injuries and whatever. The point is that he came out of Jersey hurt. The warm-up call and the region that ended up being aggravating, it was his first time back in his skates since that game and it changed the game.

Sabres Head Coach Ralph Krueger

From what I gather, Krueger is saying Eichel’s injury against New Jersey is unrelated to his injury during yesterday’s warmup that caused Eichel to be scratched.

Quick Hits:

  • Dylan Cozens was a scratch this afternoon, moving Kyle Okposo up the 2nd line with Hall and Staal. The trio created very little and led to Okposo skating 17:38, 5th most amongst the 12 forwards.
  • Jeff Skinner saw some 5v5 ice time with Eichel and Reinhart, the line produced 7 shot attempts (3 of which were considered “high danger”) with only 1 shot attempt against.

Looking Ahead:

The Sabres are off to New York City to play the Rangers Tuesday night before spending Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at Nassau Coliseum against the Islanders. Buffalo has struggled against the Islanders this season going winless in their three matchups so far.

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