In the first seven games of the Philadelphia Flyers' season, they faced the defending Stanley Cup champions, Eastern Conference champions and Presidents' Trophy winner, yet found a way to grab five out of six points. It took a herculean effort by the Flyers in the closing minutes of regulation against the lowly Buffalo Sabres to grab just one point tonight.
A late Brayden Schenn deflection goal forced overtime, but the Flyers could not complete the comeback. After Sabres goaltender Chad Johnson robbed Sam Gagner and Scott Laughton during 3v3 overtime, Buffalo went right back down the ice and put a stop to the contest, as Zemgus Girgensons fooled Mason to give the Sabres a 4-3 win.
Philadelphia struggled throughout, as they were outshot 40-33 and lost the even strength shot attempts battle by a tally of 66-47. Brayden Schenn chipped in with two goals including the game-tying score and his brother Luke celebrated his return to the lineup with two assists. Steve Mason made 36 saves.
Despite a strong opening push by the Flyers in the first period, Buffalo quickly took control of the game. Tyler Ennis beat both Evgeny Medvedev and Claude Giroux down low and then slipped a weak goal past Steve Mason to give the Sabres a 1-0 lead. Less than five minutes later, Jamie McGinn dug the hole even deeper, beating Mason for a power play goal after Michael Del Zotto lost McGinn in coverage in front of the net.
The Flyers fought back. Following a Pierre-Edouard Bellemare injury, Chris VandeVelde avenged his fallen fourth line brother, beating goaltender Chad Johnson with a wrist shot on the rush. A strong finishing kick to the first period by the Flyers raised hopes that the team was on the verge of taking back control of the game.
Unfortunately for Philadelphia, the second period was more of the same. While the Flyers looked better in transition, they were outplayed at even strength yet again. Their best chances came on the power play, as they cycled constantly but were unable to bury numerous high-quality opportunities.
After a sleepy start to the third, the Flyers did find some life courtesy of Scott Laughton. Blasting down the left side, Laughton was able to find Brayden Schenn for the game tying goal just in front of Johnson. But the lead wouldn't last long. Jake McCabe fluttered a shot by a screened Mason only minutes later to put the Sabres right back on top, setting up Schenn's last second heroics.
After a strong start to the season, tonight's loss marks only the Flyers' second real clunker of a game. They'll look to rebound on Thursday in a matchup with the rival New Jersey Devils.
Morning observations and analysis from last night's game can be found here.
Comment of the Night
(After the first period)
intermission should be short
zamboni only needs to cut half the ice.