Lethargic second period dooms Flyers in loss to Buffalo


­What time is it? Game time…The Flyers came into the game against the Buffalo Sabres looking to regain the momentum they had from a month ago. A task that would be difficult, considering that they has lost eight of their past ten games. However, they have seen improvement from the past two games beating the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday, and coming from behind against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday.

The Flyers eventually lost the game against the Blue Jackets 2-1 in overtime, but got a much needed point in the standings in a losing effort. Buffalo came into this one winners of their previous game against the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday, and it was arguably their best win of the season overcoming a 3-1 deficit, to win 4-3. The Flyers needed a complete team effort to win against the Sabres, but a lethargic second period led to a 4-1 loss.

Before the game Steve Mason was quoted as saying, “The games are so tight that the smallest things can determine between winning and losing. We cannot get discouraged and we have to keep pushing forward.” It must have registered with the Flyers because they had their legs moving from the first drop off the puck.

Some errant passes early on from the Flyers led to turnovers, and it took away their time of possession with the puck. Most notably, a turnover from Andrew Macdonald in the neutral zone led to a rush from Sam Reinhart from the Sabres. Mason wound up bailing Macdonald out, as he made a nice right pad save.

With 14:32 remaining in the first, Brandon manning got into a fight with Buffalo’s Nicholas Deslauriers. It seemed to pump up the Flyers as they had two shots in 30 seconds, but Anders Nilsson made both saves.

With 3:00 left in the first, Claude Giroux made a nice move around Justin Faulk in Buffalo’s zone, and it led to Faulk taking a holding penalty. The ensuing power play showed good puck movement from the Flyers, and it led to four shots on net. Anders Nilsson had the answers keeping the score 0-0.

The first period ended 0-0, with the Flyers out shooting Buffalo 13-8. The Flyers won the faceoff margin 59% to 41%. Buffalo did out hit the Flyers in the first 6-4.

The Flyers started the 2nd period with a lot of energy, and it transpired to two shots in the first minute. However, with 16:00 remaining in the 2nd, Brayden Schenn took a holding penalty on Justin Bailey.

On the ensuing power play, the Sabres had the puck in the Flyers zone for all 45 seconds of it. The Sabres scored from a Rasmus Ristolainen shot that was originally saved by Mason. Mason could not coral the rebound, and Sam Reinhart slammed it home for the 1-0 lead.

That gave Buffalo life and a jump for the rest of the period. It also made the Flyers lethargic at times. Taylor Fedun entered the Flyers zone with 8:39 left in the period. He took a shot from the top of the circle that was saved by Mason. Mason gave up a juicy rebound, and William Carrier scored his 2nd goal of the year for a 2-0 lead.

With 4:47 remaining in the 2nd period, Michael Del Zotto took a holding penalty against Jack Eichel. Buffalo had two quality scoring chances on it, but the Flyers did a good job in limiting second opportunities and managed to kill it off.

With 20 seconds left in the 2nd, the Sabres dumped the puck behind the net. The Flyers had trouble clearing the zone, and Sam Reinhart took a shot from the top of the right circle that was blocked by Andrew Macdonald. Evander Kane found the puck and fired it past Mason for his 10th of the year, and a 3-0 Sabres lead.

A complete turn of events from the 2nd period found themselves lethargic at times, and it doomed them in the 2nd. Buffalo lead 3-0 at the end of the 2nd period. The shot total for the 2nd period was even at 13, but found the Flyers out shooting Buffalo 26-21 for the game. The Flyers also maintained a healthy advantage in the faceoff margin 62%-38%.

With 15:00 remaining in the 3rd period, the Flyers finally found their legs. They peppered Andres Nilsson with four shots to start the period. He had all the answers, but at least the Flyers effort was there.

Throughout the period the Flyers continued to throw shots at Nilsson. At one point out shooting Buffalo 11-3, but he was strong and kept the score 3-0 in favor of the Sabres.

At 16:32 in the 3rd period, Jack McCabe took a hooking penalty on Matt Read. On the Flyers ensuing power play, Claude Giroux took a shot from the top of the circle that was deflected down by a Sabres defenseman. Brayden Schenn found the puck, and fired it past Nilsson for his 13th goal on the year. This made the score 3-1 in favor of the Sabres.

With 3.3 seconds left and the goaltender pulled for the Flyers, Marcus Foligno scored an empty net goal for a 4-1 Sabres victory. The Flyers wound up out shooting Buffalo 40-27 for the game, and won the face off margin 64%-36%.

The lethargic second period doomed the Flyers in the loss against the Sabres. The Flyers though to their credit did not give up, and kept firing the pucks at Nilsson. The Flyers unfortunately ran into a goaltender that seemed dialed in from the start. Hopefully the Flyers can turn it around at home against the Vancouver Canucks in a 7pm tilt on Thursday night.


Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports