Flyers, Ersson shutout Sabres to complete back-to-back

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Flyers' Sam Ersson
Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Samuel Ersson, right, makes a save against Buffalo Sabres center Peyton Krebs (19) during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Monday, Jan. 9, 2023, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)
(AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

After falling 6-2 to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday, the Philadelphia Flyers responded with a demanding 4-0 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. Samuel Ersson picked up his fourth career NHL win and his first-ever shutout.

The Flyers wasted no time getting on the scoreboard in Buffalo. Zack MacEwen netted his first goal since November 5th, 2022, to give his team an early 1-0 lead just 2:04 into the first period. Patrick Brown dished the puck toward the net, and MacEwen was in the right spot at the right time, beating Craig Anderson. The Flyers’ fourth line contributed on the scoresheet for the second game in a row, and Brown tallied his second assist in consecutive games.

Joel Farabee potted his ninth goal of the year with 6:29 remaining in the first. Travis Sanheim poked the puck in the neutral zone, bouncing and finding Farabee, who had space to beat an uncomfortable-looking Anderson. Travis Konecny would register an assist on the play, extending his point streak to nine games.

Noah Cates added to the first-period scoring fun with his contribution. After forcing a turnover, Konecny rushed toward Anderson, causing a rebound which Cates cleaned up. After the first 20 minutes, the Flyers were in control, leading 3-0.

The second period wasn’t as eventful as the first. The Flyers held their 3-0 lead, courtesy of Ersson. The back-to-back started catching up to the Flyers in the second half of the period, and the Sabres began to take advantage. The Sabres only had five shots in the first but added twelve more in the second. Ersson kept the game scoreless, making critical saves.

“Honestly, it’s the only reason we still have the lead,” Konecny said after the second period regarding Ersson.

Wade Allison made it 4-0 just 1:56 into the third. A faceoff win by Scott Laughton saw the puck end up on the stick of Kevin Hayes, finding Allison alone at the side of the net, tapping the puck past Anderson. His goal would be the last, and the Flyers would cruise to a 4-0 victory.

Samuel Ersson (+)

Back-to-back games are never easy for any NHL team, and they’ve been cruel to the Flyers this year. Philadelphia took a 3-0 lead and held on against the best offense in the NHL. They showed fatigue during parts of the final two periods, but Ersson was the difference maker, saving 28/28 shots.

The Flyers’ power play went 0/3 on the night, but the penalty kill was 1/1. Playing a disciplined game proved valuable against a dangerous Sabres offense.

After his shutout, Ersson remained humbled. Happy with his performance, wins are the only thing that matter:

“Obviously, it feels great, first one. It’s special, but, it’s the wins that matter, and that’s what you gotta take moving forward.”

Samuel Ersson; 1/9/2023

Noah Cates (+)

The two-way game from Cates continues to shine this season. John Tortorella spoke highly of Cates toward the end of training camp, and the rookie forward has proved why he plays in the top six. Causing a turnover before scoring in the first, Cates plays with more maturity than his age indicates.

Cates hasn’t been lighting up the scoresheet each game, but his playing ability on both sides of the puck and constant hustle on each play make him a valuable player in the lineup.

Up Next

The Flyers return to the Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday for a Metropolitan Division showdown against the Washington Capitals. The puck drops at 7pm.

(AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)