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Flyers 3, Sabres 0: Now that’s more like it

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A shutout! Brian Elliott!

Philadelphia Flyers v Buffalo Sabres Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images

With news that Jack Eichel was once again out of the Sabres’ lineup, and that Phil Myers was a healthy scratch for the Flyers, the Flyers looked to build momentum and beat a struggling Buffalo Sabres team.

First Period

An early power play for the Flyers proved to be unfruitful, but for the first few minutes of play, the Flyers’ forecheck helped establish Philadelphia as the more dominant side. They forced turnovers in the offensive zone, and looked sharp, likely aided by their re-enforcements coming off the NHL COVID-19 protocol list.

Especially buzzing early was the fourth line, as Michael Raffl and Nicolas Aube-Kubel harassed opposition as they’ve done all season.

The Sabres would get a power play after Joel Farabee was called for slashing Taylor Hall at the 6:29 mark. However, the league’s top-rated power play was denied, as Brian Elliott made a couple of good saves. It should come as no surprise, as Elliott is notably excellent against Buffalo. The broadcast pointed out that Elliott’s save percentage was 0.941% against the Sabres in his career coming into this game.

Though the Flyers dominated play, they didn’t manage to pepper Carter Hutton with many shots, as Buffalo did a decent job blocking shots. However, in the end it didn’t matter as Sean Couturier put the Flyers ahead with around five minutes left in the period. On a retrieval in the corner, Couturier took a pass in past the circles and whipped a shot past Hutton to make the score 1-0.

The Flyers shortly after would be gifted another power play on a high sticking penalty, but they could not score on it.

Second Period

Brian Elliott continued to make saves early in the second period, as both teams traded chances. However, it wasn’t long before the Flyers’ dominance shone through again.

Charlie is indeed right. They owned the Sabres in their own zone, and the Sabres didn’t really have even a half chance until halfway through the period when the Sabres would be gifted a power play. The Flyers penalty kill, showing improvement, killed it off however.

Then, continuing their streak of controlling play, this time on a breakout, Shayne Gostisbehere gave the Flyers a 2-0 lead. Breaking in from the left, Shayne made it look easy:

To end the period, with around a minute remaining, Scott Laughton would find himself on a breakaway, and he calmly beat Hutton five-hole with a deke and backhand finish. Pure filth:

That was quite a good second period, eh?

Third Period

The Flyers yet again came in red hot, as almost immediately Oskar Lindblom found Scott Laughton for a golden opportunity. The fourth line also continued to hassle and pressure Buffalo effectively.

By mid period, it was evident that the Sabres were mentally defeated. They were giving up multiple odd-man rushes to the Flyers and weren’t looking at all like they could score a single goal. To compound this, the Flyers would go to the power play. However, they couldn’t score though they came close.

The last five minutes of play were more balanced, though the Flyers had no trouble closing out the Sabres in what was a dominant win,

Two Big Answers

1. How will Voracek and Laughton look in their return?

They both looked very good! Especially for Laughton, who scored on a breakaway, it was as if the pair were never away at all. The whole team played well, and Voracek and Laughton were no exception.

2. Can elderly Brian Elliott continue this run of success?

Oh absolutely he can.

Brian Elliott saved all 23 shots he faced, and looked confident in doing so. He continues to perform excellently against Buffalo.

Three Stars

3. Shayne Gostisbehere - 1 G, having a hot streak

2. Sean Couturier - 1 G, 1 A, being the best

1. Brian Elliott - 23/23 saves, rolling back the years