A hot start by the Philadelphia Flyers was quickly extinguished last night. After 11 goals and 2 wins against Pittsburgh, the team played host to the Buffalo Sabres who were 0-2-0 coming into the matchup. What followed was a sloppy game from the home side that saw the Sabres wreak havoc.
The Flyers tried to negate the loss of Sean Couturier with hot prospect Morgan Frost and in the opening few minutes, things looked to be going swimmingly enough…until they weren’t. Former first-round pick Curtis Lazar struck first in the opening stanza, opening the floodgates for the Sabres. He’d later notch another after a pair from Sam Reinhart just eight minutes into the second period, giving Buffalo a 4-0 lead. Henri Jokihajru added to the misery in the third and while Nicolas Aube-Kubel stopped the shutout, Victor Olofsson scored the final goal of a bitterly disappointing 6-1 defeat.
The defense was unbelievably sloppy. Turnovers were a huge problem across the board and forechecking was lackadaisical. Whether it was a lack of effort or a lack of execution is irrelevant, the result is the same and it led to the Flyers being dominated despite some coaching adjustments to bring the pain when colliding with opposing players and some line shuffles along the way.
This is going to be the first time that the boot is on the other foot for the Flyers in what promises to be a unique season. After dealing back-to-back knockouts to Pittsburgh and ensuring they stay on the gas, the team now has to get back up off the ground after taking a huge shot. There’s no time to dwell on the loss and little time to go over exactly what went wrong. The Flyers are back in action tomorrow against the same opponent in the same venue. It’s an opportunity that Alain Vigneault and his players are looking to make the most of.
“I think if I’m a player, if I’m part of the coaching staff which I am, I’m embarrassed by how we played tonight.” Vigneault said after the loss. “I’m happy we can get right back at it tomorrow and prove what type of team we are. That’s the opportunity we are going to get. Within a little while here, we will be right back out on the ice. I expect a much better game from us. Much better execution. Much harder to play against and I’m confident that that is what we are going to see tomorrow.”
“It’s payback already tomorrow.” Said the Flyers’ lone goal-scorer Nic Aube-Kubel. “It’s really nice we can play tomorrow. We don’t have to stay on that loss for a while. It’s fun.”
“I think we all know we haven’t played our best yet this season.” An honest James Van-Riemsdyk said after a particularly weak game. “We were able to find ways to win the first two games and obviously tonight, it’s going to catch up with you eventually. Ultimately, we know we have a lot more to give and a lot better to play. I think obviously we have to get back to playing the way that we can.”
“I need to be better.” Carter Hart said after stopping 18 of 22 shots faced before tagging in Brian Elliott in what was a rough day at the office. “I think it wasn’t our best game tonight, for everyone. We just got out-worked. I know I need to be better. We have to put it behind us and just prepare for tomorrow.”
It seems as though the players have already put the loss behind them. But will they be able to do a better job of that than the Pens did in their season-opening 6-3 win, or will the Flyers come out of tonight’s clash having flipped their own script?
Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre
Liam is a 25-year old sports journalist from the UK and founder of the Philly Sports Network. In just five years he turned a hobby into one of the fastest-growing Philadelphia sports sites in the world, amassing 7,000,000 views and writing over 3,000 articles. Drawing attention from the likes of CSN, NJ.Com and Bleacher Report in the process, Liam is set on changing the way Philadelphia sports teams are reported on forever.
You can contact him here: Phillysportsnetwork@gmail.com