After a thrilling victory in which the Flyers dominated, Alain Vigneault made no changes to his lineup other than re-inserting Phil Myers. Jack Eichel would also return for the Sabres, so with the news out of the way, let’s run it back!
Early on, the Flyers would be put down a man as Justin Braun cleared the puck over the glass in his own zone. Especially with Jack Eichel back, the Sabres have a dangerous power play, and they certainly looked better in their first chance than they did at all yesterday. However, Carter Hart saved all pucks thrown his way on the advantage, and the Flyers killed it off. Other than the penalty, the first few minutes of the period went by with no clear frontrunner as the puck was bouncing all over the ice.
Once again, the fourth line looked sharp in their first shift as they forced a few turnovers, and they clearly sparked something within the rest of the team as immediately after their shift, the Flyers started to generate more scoring chances. However, a lot of those chances were low to high and weren’t particularly dangerous.
Around the seven minute mark, the Sabres’ Curtis Lazar hit the post on a shot that may or may not (did not) have gone in, and on the counter rush, the Flyers drew a penalty to put them on the power play for the first time in this game.
Claude Giroux hit the post on a laser of a shot, and rebounds were left by Sabres’ goalie Jonas Johansson, but they could not score.
Both teams had pretty dangerous chances, but the score would remain 0-0.
After 20 minutes the Flyers lead in shots on goal 13-7.— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) February 28, 2021
At 5-on-5, they have a 56.52 Corsi-for percentage (13 shots for, 10 against) and a 75.14 Expected Goals-for percentage. pic.twitter.com/EdnAlLCOZE
Getting off to a flying start, less than a minute into the period the Flyers would take the lead on a goal from, guess who ... Sean Couturier! Joel Farabee put a shot through on Johansson that couldn’t be dealt with, and the rebound was pounced on by Couturier who made no mistake. Doctor Coots made a house call:
Couturier gives the Flyers the lead! pic.twitter.com/FohPeLuM3N— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) February 28, 2021
The Flyers would then make it 2-0 before two minutes of play would pass. Robert Hagg shot the puck from the point, and Michael Raffl deflected the puck to beat Johansson. Buzzing.
Raffl with the redirect! pic.twitter.com/wmLg2Q1mQp— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) February 28, 2021
It was all Flyers early in this period, and they really took play to the Sabres, not giving them an inch of space. On top of that, on Buffalo chances (in particular the scramble initiated by Taylor Hall), Carter Hart stood strong.
Midway through the period, the Flyers would go to the power play, but they would be unable to score. Though, the most notable play came from Carter Hart, who made a fantastic save on Kyle Okposo during a Sabres 2-on-1 to keep the shutout bid going. Regardless, it really was all Flyers as they led the shot battle 31-15 with only five minutes in the period remaining.
It would shortly then be 3-0 as the Flyers capitalized on their best sequence of the entire game. The Flyers would control play in Buffalo’s offensive zone and tire out the Sabres skaters. Ivan Provorov in particular put on a clinic in possession as he eventually found Farabee around the left point who slapped a shot-pass over to James van Riemsdyk who deflected it past Johansson from quite far out from the mouth of the net.
JvR back at it again! pic.twitter.com/gwDtLk0DJp— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) February 28, 2021
Buffalo would get a power play towards the end of the period, but would not score as one of the best periods of Flyers hockey this season would come to a close. Though, Buffalo would start the third on the man advantage.
After 40 minutes the Flyers are up 3-0 in goals and 34-18 in shots on goal.— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) February 28, 2021
At 5-on-5 they have a 63.33 Corsi-for percentage (38 shots for, 22 against) and a 69.01 Expected Goals-for percentage.
Gotta love the Sabres. pic.twitter.com/UrJFVBA0MJ
The Flyers easily killed off the Sabres power play at the beginning of the period, and set to work closing out the game. They would have yet another power play to kill off mid way through the period, and Hart made key saves to keep the shutout going.
As the game wound down, the Flyers focused on maintaining their structure and not breaking down, slowing down the pace of the game as the clock ticked down. This did lead to more chances for Buffalo as they pushed for any kind of light in a very dour two game set, but again, Carter Hart stood strong.
In the end, 3-0 would be the final score as the Flyers would shut out the Sabres yet again!
Two days, two games, two goaltenders, two shutouts. A great weekend of hockey all around.— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) February 28, 2021
We're coming for you, bird.
Three Big Answers
1. What does Carter Hart look like?
Very good. If we were worried that Hart would look rusty after his time off after the Boston game at Lake Tahoe, we were mistaken! Hart made some incredible saves when required, and kept the flow of the game in the Flyers’ favor.
2. Do the Flyers continue to play at a faster pace and dominate the neutral zone?
Once again, yes. The Flyers barely let the Sabres have a scratch of possession through the neutral zone, and from the second period on, it was all Flyers all the time. Both teams looked pacy in this game, but the Flyers looked better in that regard.
3. How good will Phil Myers be in his return, if he gets the opportunity?
Myers had a solid game, tallying an assist and generally looking sharp. His jumps into the offensive play when they came were smart, and he could have easily had himself a goal in the second period when play broke down.
3. Joel Farabee - 2 A, continuing young beezer season
2. James van Riemsdyk - 1 G, 1 A, owning his office in front of the net
1. Carter Hart - 28/28 shots saved, fulfilling the redemption arc