After being handed their first loss of the season in convincing fashion the night before, the Flyers looked to invoke revenge in the second night of their back-to-back with the Buffalo Sabres. Brian Elliott would come through, with a 40-save shutout in his first start of the season.
After a pretty good start by the Flyers, Robert Hagg took an interference minor that temporarily halted momentum. Just a minute into the kill, Michael Raffl would go for high-sticking — not ideal!
But thanks to some all-around great work, especially by Ivan Provorov, the Flyers would kill off both minors. Hagg even almost had a breakaway once his minor ended, which would’ve been exactly what this game needed if you ask me.
Jeff Skinner would trip Oskar Lindblom soon after, sending the Flyers to the power play for the first time of the night. And, uh, that power play sucked. Just, absolutely terrible. I think the Sabres held the puck longer than the Flyers did over the course of it. They did enter the zone once though!
Back to even strength, the Flyers didn’t show much of anything for some time. After a defensive zone turnover, Brian Elliott bailed the Flyers out with two huge stops on Skinner.
Elliott with a few huge saves pic.twitter.com/nqA98wJNO4— Ryan Gilbert (@RGilbertSOP) January 20, 2021
Hey, the fourth line created a chance! I would really like to know why they are the only unit creating offense in the last two games considering how deep this team is at forward. That, quite simply, cannot continue.
I don’t know if I’ve ever seen someone turn the puck over as much as Erik Gustafsson.
Now, the tone of this has been pretty negative but let me be clear; the Flyers were much better in this period than they were in last night’s game. Not good, but they weren’t out-classed.
This series versus Buffalo had gone so poorly to this point that the broadcast really dropped a, “Wouldn’t Ristolainen look good in orange?” He would not.
Ivan Provorov created a nice chance before Brandon Montour pushed him into Hutton, causing a bit of stir. Just my opinion, but if you don’t want your goalie to be hit, don’t push someone into him. But you do you.
Montour pushes Provorov into Hutton, then decides he's mad about it. pic.twitter.com/Bv9fxQxFPc— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) January 20, 2021
No penalties were called, no harm was done I guess. Immediately after, van Riemsdyk almost broke the scoreless tie, but Hutton made an incredible skate save. His biggest test of the game coming right after he looked a bit shaken up by the collision.
Hutton absolutely robs JvR. pic.twitter.com/abpvvGOzle— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) January 20, 2021
In the midst of the period, we learned that Phil Myers was missing. He was on the receiving end of this hit on what we believe was his second-to-last shift.
Phil Myers missing from the bench. He took this hit in the first period. pic.twitter.com/pdrlbM5qu7— Ryan Gilbert (@RGilbertSOP) January 20, 2021
Teams exchanged shots off the bar, Konecny for the Flyers, Olofsson for the Sabres, before Voracek would head to the box for tripping Skinner. The Sabres’ power play may have failed earlier in the game, but the unit showed its potential in last night’s meeting.
Brian Elliott is having a very good game. Like, very good. People like to say that your goaltender has to be your best penalty killer, and he was just that.
Back to five-on-five and Morgan Frost has now left the game with an apparent injury. Already down Couturier and Myers, as well as Gostisbehere due to Covid protocol, the injuries are quickly piling up.
With just over two minutes to play in the middle frame, Patrick steals the puck in the defensive zone, gets it to Lindblom who whips the puck up the ice to Konecny, who is then able to beat Hutton and open the scoring.
Konecny beats Hutton on the breakaway! pic.twitter.com/U8zdku4dWv— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) January 20, 2021
After a number of defensive zone turnovers, it was really nice to see Patrick and Lindblom team up on the breakout to spring the breakaway. Lindblom’s feed was a perfect example of passing into empty space, allowing Konecny to pick the puck up on the fly.
The Flyers started the third period with 1:58 of carryover power play time thanks to Ristolainen taking a really dumb penalty at the end of the period, hitting Laughton up high away from the puck. Also of note; Hutton would not return for the third period, and Jonas Johansson would enter the game.
Remember when the power play was good? It was pretty cool in game one.
Not much happened through the first half of the period, however, just at the midway point Patrick almost made it a two-goal lead but the edge of Johansson’s glove got enough of the puck to force it to the side of the net.
As time continued to fight against the Sabres, they upped the offensive pressure as the Flyers sagged back. Elliott once again came up large with a stop on Jack Eichel, before the Flyers would head the other way on an odd-man rush.
Gustafsson intercepted a pass and flipped the puck out of the zone, leading to Kevin Hayes connecting with Jake Voracek for the tally.
Voracek gives the Flyers a 2-goal lead! pic.twitter.com/BeXsTj5w7i— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) January 20, 2021
With 2:40 to go, Buffalo pulled Johansson for the extra skater. Kevin Hayes hit the empty net with a bit over a minute and a half remaining to give the Flyers a 3-0 lead.
And that’s how it would end, with Brian Elliott shutting out the same Sabres that dropped six goals on the Flyers last night. What a game from Moose.
Two Big Answers
1. Can the Flyers try to play some defense?
Well, they were certainly better than they were last night. Elliott was still tested a lot, but the team’s play in front of him was much improved. He did have to make 40 saves, after all. Still, the Flyers weren’t just flat out blowing coverage — so they did indeed play some defense. If they’re without Myers moving forward, they’re in some trouble though.
2. Will we see the team’s offensive depth?
Nope, not really. They mustered one goal for around 50 minutes and the Hayes-Voracek combo wouldn’t really qualify as “depth.” The stars scored enough, and Elliott locked it down.
3. Oskar Lindblom
2. Travis Konecny
1. Brian Elliott