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Sabres 4, Flyers 2: What we learned from ... wait, they really lost to Buffalo?

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Naturally, they will now beat Columbus.

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Corsi Report

Flyers raw CF% leaders vs Buffalo

Player TOI CF CA CF% CF% Rel
Player TOI CF CA CF% CF% Rel
Jori.Lehtera 7:51 7 4 63.64 20.97
Travis.Sanheim 14:07 14 9 60.87 21.19
Dale.Weise 10:57 11 8 57.89 16.1
Nolan.Patrick 9:33 11 8 57.89 16.1
Radko.Gudas 15:25 12 10 54.55 12.36
Scott.Laughton 8:09 9 8 52.94 9.46
Travis.Konecny 7:39 9 8 52.94 9.46
Claude.Giroux 14:15 13 12 52 9.38
Jordan.Weal 9:51 11 11 50 6.25
Sean.Couturier 15:07 14 14 50 6.9
Wayne.Simmonds 13:24 14 14 50 6.9
Shayne.Gostisbehere 15:49 14 17 45.16 -0.29
Ivan.Provorov 15:54 15 20 42.86 -4.2
Robert.Hagg 15:22 12 19 38.71 -10.38
Andrew.MacDonald 13:49 10 19 34.48 -16.39
Michael.Raffl 12:10 7 18 28 -24.46
Jakub.Voracek 14:22 7 19 26.92 -26.41
Valtteri.Filppula 12:13 5 17 22.73 -30.4

Flyers xGF% leaders vs Buffalo

Player TOI xGF xGA xGF%
Player TOI xGF xGA xGF%
TRAVIS.SANHEIM 14.1 0.45 0.2 69.23%
DALE.WEISE 10.9 0.37 0.18 67.27%
NOLAN.PATRICK 9.5 0.33 0.24 57.89%
RADKO.GUDAS 15.4 0.42 0.32 56.76%
JORDAN.WEAL 9.8 0.33 0.27 55.00%
JORI.LEHTERA 7.8 0.14 0.14 50.00%
SCOTT.LAUGHTON 8.2 0.2 0.25 44.44%
CLAUDE.GIROUX 14.2 0.32 0.45 41.56%
SEAN.COUTURIER 15.1 0.32 0.47 40.51%
WAYNE.SIMMONDS 13.4 0.29 0.54 34.94%
TRAVIS.KONECNY 7.7 0.17 0.32 34.69%
SHAYNE.GOSTISBEHERE 15.8 0.26 0.58 30.95%
ROBERT.HAGG 15.4 0.29 0.72 28.71%
IVAN.PROVOROV 15.9 0.34 0.98 25.76%
ANDREW.MACDONALD 13.8 0.33 0.97 25.38%
MICHAEL.RAFFL 12.2 0.24 0.93 20.51%
JAKUB.VORACEK 14.4 0.24 0.94 20.34%
VALTTERI.FILPPULA 12.2 0.2 0.92 17.86%

Oh, don’t mind me, I’m just sitting here trying to figure out how this team played like this against the Buffalo Sabres.

There really aren’t too many positives to extract from this one. Passing was atrocious all night long, and the defense was allowing the Sabres to get consistent pressure seemingly each shift. One of the few positives from the forward corps, however, was the line featuring Nolan Patrick.

Despite having only one skater (Dale Weise lol) over 10 minutes of five on five ice time, the Patrick line was fairly easily the second best line against the Sabres. That’s two solid games in a row together for the second overall pick, and hopefully a momentum booster heading into the holiday break.

On the defensive side, Travis Sanheim continues to put together solid games, getting better and better as the season progresses. While he still has some lapses in his own zone, the rookie defenseman has shown many glimpses of the future top four blue liner that we all want him to be.

As for the negatives from this one, look no further than the second line’s performance in this one. Valtteri Filppula looked dazed and confused all night, and that screwed up the entire chemistry of the line. This was a tad shocking to see, as it was producing immediate dividends after the move was made to put Voracek with Filppula and Raffl. Hopefully, this isn’t a sign of things to come for the trio.

Heatmap/team metrics

While I wouldn’t say the Flyers shot selection was poor in this game, I wouldn’t call it ideal either. They generally avoided too many point shots; however, there simply weren’t enough attempts to make any real noise.

As for the team stats ... well, it’s bad, folks!

After somehow leading in CF after the first period by a 21-18 mark, the Flyers fell off a cliff in the second and third periods. More noticeably, they were obliterated in high danger chances for by a total of 10-4 in favor of the Sabres. They also lost the battle in scoring chances, 23-19. This was just an overall horrible game for the Flyers against a truly bad team. There’s no other way to put it. Who knows if they were taking this team lightly or not, but it wasn’t pretty.

Five Takeaways

1. Brian Elliott is the only reason it wasn’t worse

Elliott only allowed two of the four goals as there were two empty net goals at the end, and honestly that’s a downright miracle. Elliott faced a barrage of shots all night and was up to the task more often than not. He kept the Flyers in this game the entire night and considering the work load he’s been forced into, he deserves a few extra presents this Christmas. I mean just look at this save

2. Nolan Patrick is starting to get going

It hasn’t been the greatest of starts for our second overall pick, but over the past two games Patrick has been excellent, and he’s looking better and better each time out. He was above 50% CF yet again tonight and was doing great work along the boards as he had done against the Detroit Red Wings. While his ice time still isn’t exactly ideal, you can tell he’s gaining a bit more trust from Hakstol, and that’s important.

3. Passing needs to be better

From the jump of this hockey game, the Flyers were struggling mightily on tape to tape passes. This was apparent in the onset of the Detroit game as well, but it eventually evened out as the game wore down. In this one, however? It probably got worse. No one could make an efficient pass, and the outlet passes were failing almost every time. The Flyers are a pass heavy team and we know this, so if they’re gonna do this a lot, you damn well better be doing it correctly.

4. Power play was very bad

One for five on the power play. Not only could they not take advantage of the Buffalo penalties, they generated so little offense each and every time. There was no fluidity to either unit whatsoever and it burned them all night. Hell, the only PPG they got was a six on four because they pulled Elliott.

5. The only damn thing I know

I know, I know, I’m not Maddie. But she has granted me the use of her fantastic “The only damn thing I know” observation for a special occasion. Brace yourself ladies and germs (especially you, German Rubstov), for you are about to feast your eyes upon the broest bro to ever bro...


Much bro, much wow.

All stats courtesy of Natural Stat Trick and