Sam Reinhart and Curtis Lazar both scored twice and the Buffalo Sabres routed the Philadelphia Flyers by a final score of 6-1 on Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center. Taylor Hall and Jack Eichel recorded three assists each as visiting Sabres (1-2-0, two points) chased Carter Hart early and cruised to an easy first win of the season while handing the Flyers (2-1-0, four points) their first loss.
Playing in his first game of the season, Morgan Frost and his line buzzed, helping draw the first minor of the season less than three minutes in. Frost showed some early juice, which will be needed with Sean Couturier out indefinitely.
Nothing doing on the minor for the Flyers, however, as the Sabres got the kill to keep things scoreless early.
Buffalo’s best chance early was on a Jack Eichel breakaway turned 2-on-0 off an Erik Gustafsson turnover in his own zone. Carter Hart waited out Eichel, who opted for the pass across and Jeff Skinner was unable to beat the sprawling netminder.
Erik Gustafsson might be allergic to the puck tonight pic.twitter.com/YslVAWi7u4— Ryan Gilbert (@RGilbertSOP) January 19, 2021
Lesson for the kids? Maybe shoot the puck when you’re far and away the best player on your Godforsaken team.
Speaking of best player on the team, the goalie is pretty good eh? We’re done apologizing for good goaltending around here.
Hart with a big save on Thompson. pic.twitter.com/XEue53tzr9— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) January 19, 2021
So apparently the only way to score on Hart is a perfectly placed backhand laser that ramps up off of a defender’s stick. Okay, maybe there are other ways, but that’s how the Sabres would break the ice in this one with Curtis Lazar beating Hart from the right side to make it 1-0 late in the first.
Curtis with a backhand Lazar to beat Hart pic.twitter.com/OERr15I4Pm— Ryan Gilbert (@RGilbertSOP) January 19, 2021
A heck of an individual play from the former first-round pick to open the scoring and reward the Sabres for carrying play in the first 20 minutes. Besides the opening shift, the Flyers got what they deserved in an uninspiring period where they ended it badly outshot and saddled with a 1-0 deficit.
After getting a firm talking to from the coaching staff at the first intermission, the Flyers strung together a few nice shifts to open the third.
But a breakdown left Hart on an island and the netminder tripped up Lazar to give the Sabres an early power play chance. The penalty was generous as Lazar basically skated right into Hart’s crease to draw the call.
He just skated into Hart??? pic.twitter.com/DPjU2lzXov— Ryan Gilbert (@RGilbertSOP) January 19, 2021
The visitors would take advantage as Taylor Hall pushed the envelop in front of the Flyers’ crease and slid the puck over to Sam Reinhart to beat a sprawling Hart to make it 2-0.
Reinhart makes it 2-0 Sabres pic.twitter.com/iEwmkJdlFw— Ryan Gilbert (@RGilbertSOP) January 19, 2021
But the terror wouldn’t end there as Reinhart pushed the lead to 3-0 off another Flyers giveaway in their own zone with 13:26 left in the second. Reinhart found himself wide open in front of the Flyers’ net and Hart offered little resistance.
Reinhart scores his second of the night to make it 3-0 pic.twitter.com/sobu0fZLUH— Ryan Gilbert (@RGilbertSOP) January 19, 2021
Thinking this: the defense isn’t very good.
Buffalo scored again. Reinhart, 4-0. Hart’s night is over and the Flyers are officially back as we all search for the nearest air fryer to place our heads in.
With the Sabres grinding the Flyers into oblivion in the second period, the broadcast — namely Pierre McGuire — pointed out that Buffalo’s willpower was just far strong pretty much from this jump.
JJ's dejected "this is not a power play" sums up this game.— Brad Keffer (@brad_keffer) January 19, 2021
After 40 minutes, Flyers down 4-0 and looking every bit like they deserve it with Buffalo beating them to every loose puck and controlling play at even strength like they’re on a power play.
Seeking any kind of spark, Flyers coach Alain Vigneault shook up both his forward lines and defensive pairs to start the third.
While the changes did seem to spark the Flyers a bit, Carter Hutton stood tall to keep the home team scoreless and a flurry to start the period.
The momentum wouldn’t last long and the Sabres would continue to grind the Flyers into the Wells Fargo Center ice down the stretch in the third. They’d tack on a fifth goal with just a little over nine minutes remaining as a guy with a really hard name to spell and type made it 5-0.
With the game well out of hand, the only question remaining was whether Hutton would finish the deal on the shutout bid.
And it was Nicolas Aube-Kubel who would provide the comeback juice with just over two minutes left to break the shutout bid for Hutton and pull the Flyers within four at 5-1.
NAK breaks the shutout bid. pic.twitter.com/9oY13h2B0H— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) January 19, 2021
It’s the little things, folks. Life’s all about little victories sometimes, and this is one of them.
Buffalo scored again to regain the five-goal advantage with a power play marker by Victor Olofsson.
Two Big Answers
1. How will Morgan Frost look in his first appearance of the season?
Frost was on the short list of Flyers players who didn’t totally look like he forgot how to do that hockey. He had some nice juice on his first shift and fit in with his new line mates, but he didn’t see much ice time the rest of the way at even strength in a sheltered role.
Frost with a nice little sequence through the neutral zone for an entry and chance pic.twitter.com/oib3RNTBKR— Ryan Gilbert (@RGilbertSOP) January 19, 2021
A big key for Frost in the coming games is earning the trust of the coaching staff while he plays in place of Couturier. If Frost can prove that he belongs it’ll go a long way in his attempt to break into the lineup without an injury to the regular forward group.
2. Will the Flyers stay undefeated with a win against Buffalo?
3. Guess what
2. It’s you,
1. For watching that crap