Slow starts continue to haunt Flyers as a bad night in Buffalo raises more questions

Flyers Sabres Hockey
Buffalo Sabres jack Eichel (9) and Philadelphia Flyers Sean Couturier (14) take a faceoff during the third period of an hockey game, Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018, in Buffalo N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

1st Period

Back and forth hockey to start the contest, and that quickly dissolved into absolute domination by Buffalo. Goals at 3:38 (Jeff Skinner), 5:20 (Tage Thompson), 8:55 (Evan Rodrigues), and 19:52 (Johan Larsson). The penalty kill went 0-1 already, and according to Twitter, all hope is lost.

Ok, maybe not all hope. The Flyers got a few decent chances, but were mainly unable to break up Buffalo’s presence in their offensive zone. There was no answer for any of Buffalo’s offensive attacks, and the Flyers had a hard time mustering their own offense. Side note, Buffalo really likes the drop pass, and they’re pretty damn good with them.

The Sabres capped off the period with a Larsson goal with 8 seconds remaining, which sparked the first fight of the year for the Flyers. Laughton dropped the gloves with the man who put Buffalo up 4-0, and didn’t fare well. On 12 shots, the Sabres have four goals. One heck of a debut for Alex Lyon…

 

2nd Period

Calvin Pickard comes out into net for Alex Lyon.

Not much happening to start, but Claude Giroux finally breathes some life into the Flyers, putting up a tally at 5:26 with assists from Sean Couturier and Travis Konecny. Konecny now has 6 points in his last 7 games, and 12 points in the last 10 games for Sean Couturier. Our man Jamey Baskow provides us with what I’m sure is how every fan felt when Giroux netted the first goal of the game for the Flyers.

Many of the same problems persist, with the Flyers allowing Buffalo to spend way too much time in their zone. Philadelphia showing a little snarl throughout the period. One fight, and this team thinks they’re tough.

6:09 left and Sanheim wrists one on net, Wayne Simmonds is there to gather the rebound and fire it past Carter Hutton, cutting the Sabres lead in half. Simmonds nets his second goal in as many games. Game gets chippy with Konecny doing what he does best, getting under the skin of the opponent, but otherwise the period ends pretty calmly with the Flyers now back in the game and only trailing by 2.

 

3rd Period

Flyers come out much more aggressive than in the past periods, but nothing going early. Ristolainen goes to the box for interference, and the Flyers only really good chance comes off of Claude Giroux entering the zone and dangling between three Buffalo defenders.

Later in the period, Dale Weise provides the Flyers with a good chance off of a penalty kill, Claude Giroux fights off a defender through the neutral zone, and JVR rifles one off the faceoff, but the Carter Hutton keeps the Flyers off the board for now.

With 1:48 left, Sam Reinhart fends off some Flyers defenders and hits the empty net to make it 5-2 late in the third, and the Sabres go on to win the game 5-2 for their seventh win in a row.

 

Observations

Whether you want to admit it or not, the Flyers lost this game in the first 20 minutes. They were absolutely outplayed during the entire first period, and fell behind by 4 goals. Sure, they came back from a similar deficit against Tampa Bay, but tonight proved that they won’t be able to continuously do that when they fall behind.

The penalty kill was mediocre, again, killing off 1 of 2 chances. The Flyers still possess the worst penalty kill in the league.

The team looked motivated late in the game, but it was too late. It’s hard to understand, but this team just doesn’t seem to like to play a full 60 minute hockey game, and it usually shows in the first period. The Flyers need to fix things, and fast, if they hope to right the ship and get things going. This time last year, the Flyers were almost half way through a ten game losing streak, and right now, they’ve lost four straight.

Sitting at 9-10-2, the Flyers take on the New York Rangers on Black Friday at 1:00 P.M. NYR comes in on a three game win streak, and having won 5 of their last 6.

 

(AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

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