A day after Brian Elliott shuts out the Buffalo Sabres, the Philadelphia Flyers do it again with Carter Hart.
Yesterday, the Buffalo Sabres were without Jack Eichel. His absence hurt the Sabres’ powerplay as they couldn’t convert against one of the worst penalty kill units in the league. The Philadelphia Flyers secured their second shutout against Buffalo this season. Today, Ralph Krueger and the Sabres made changes to give themselves a better chance.
Jack Eichel did return to the lineup. For the Flyers, Philippe Myers and Carter Hart stepped into the lineup. While the same two franchises took the ice, there were differences from Saturday. Would Eichel provide a powerplay boost? Did Hart recover from a poor outing at Lake Tahoe?
Lately, Philadelphia has started hot in the first period. This time, the changes Krueger made to his lineup revitalized Buffalo. At one point, the Sabres led the Flyers in shots on goal, 7-2. Curtis Lazar beat Hart, but the post made a save. Buffalo dictated the pace, making all the right defensive plays to handle Philadelphia.
By the end of the first period, the Flyers showed control, winning a vast majority of faceoffs while taking more shots on goal. Philadelphia gave themselves something to build on in the second period. They’ve been able to carry momentum through the second period over the last two games.
The Flyers built on their momentum in the second period. Almost immediately, Philadelphia found a way to solve Jonas Johansson. Sean Couturier used his body to close out Eichel, feeding a one-handed pass to Joel Farabee. Johansson saved Farabee’s shot but left a juicy rebound. Couturier cleaned up the rebound, scoring his second goal in this series.
Soon after, the Flyers increased their lead off the faceoff. Connor Bunnaman was set to take the draw but switched out for Michael Raffl. Raffl won the faceoff and deflected a slapshot by Robert Hagg. Every forward line had their fingerprints on a scoring play in this series.
Hart was incredible during a few sequences in the second period. After Raffl scored, the Sabres had a flurry of shots rain in on Hart. He turned every last one away. Beginning with Taylor Hall and finishing with Brandon Montour, no one is sure that Hart even saw the puck on every chance. Acting as a brick wall, he kept Buffalo from making a momentum-swinging play.
Before the end of the second period, Philadelphia extended its lead again. Ivan Provorov was a workhorse on this shift, tiring the Sabres with his puck movement and swift skating. At the blue line, he continued to move the puck until Farabee fired a shot on goal. This time, James van Riemsdyk deflected the shot past Johansson. At the end of two periods, the Flyers led, 3-0.
Similar to Saturday, Buffalo couldn’t get anything going offensively. Leading by three goals, Philadelphia finished as strong. Hart was determined to recover from Lake Tahoe. Today, he replicated Brian Elliott’s brilliance. Three straight shutouts against the Sabres, with Hart notching the latest, 3-0.
Up Next for the Flyers
Next, the Philadelphia Flyers visit the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday. The puck drop is scheduled for 7 pm. All of the action will be televised on NBC Sports Philadelphia.
Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre