The Philadelphia Flyers came back from their off day and laid an absolute egg against the team with the fourth worst record in the entire NHL. In a game they not only should win, but had to win, the orange and black came out with a lackadaisical effort in their 4-1 loss against the lowly Buffalo Sabres. They are now 1-2-0 during this pivotal six games in nine days stretch.
The Flyers best and most dangerous player all game was defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere. The Union College alum was a threat each time he touched the puck. He fired a team high seven shots on goal and played 21:34. Brayden Schenn broke the shutout with 2:07 remaining with a power play goal and Steve Mason on the bench pulled for a sixth attacker.
The Flyers took 40 shots on goal, but in the first two periods they did not make Sabres goalie Anders Nilsson make the tough saves. Too many shots from the perimeter and too many easy saves with no traffic in front of the 6’6″ Buffalo goalie.
The Flyers defense struggled with the speed of the Sabres. The Sabres had too many odd man rushes. And when Steve Mason made the initial saves, the defense, and the Flyers forwards forgot to pick up the late man (see William Carrier’s second period goal)
The Flyers second period was one of the worst periods the team has played all season. The shot total for the second period (even at 13-13) is misleading as Buffalo dominated the second stanza and led at the end of two 3-0. Brutal penalty killing led to Sam Reinhart’s goal, poor defensive zone coverage led to Carrier’s goal, and Andrew MacDonald and Wayne Simmonds inability to clear the zone in the dying seconds of the second period led to Evander Kane’s goal with nine seconds to go in the period.
This game was tough to watch. From the lackadaisical effort, to the defensive miscues, the Flyers simply do not have enough talent to overcome these deficiencies. The glaring problems that have haunted the Flyers all season (penalty kill, defensive breakdowns, mental errors) are going to put the Flyers outside of the playoff bubble sooner rather than later. The Flyers have three games left to salvage crucial points during this important stretch. Vancouver is next, Thursday night.