The Sabres were flat all game and let the Philadelphia Flyers roll all over them as they fell 3-2 and once again failed to pick up a valuable pair of points. Although the Sabres only lost by one goal the game was a lot different than what the scoreboard showed.
The rested Sabres were taking on a tired Flyers team that had just lost the Boston Bruins and had a scolding from their coach on Saturday night. Instead of jumping early and taking advantage of a tired Flyers squad, it was the Flyers that got off to an early start forcing Ryan Miller to make three big saves within the first 2 minutes. The Flyers strong play earned them a power play and after a weak breakaway goal that just trickled through Miller by Simon Gagne the Sabres found themselves down early on. Roughly four minutes later while the Sabres were on the power play which has been non existent all year the defence once again went MIA and the Flyers had a 2 on 1 which Max Talbot capitalized, and the Sabres were down 2-0 just 9 minutes into the game.
While Miller would have liked to have the first goal back, where the heck was the Sabres defence? Some support for Miller would be great, the defence was virtually absent all night leaving Miller to fend for himself and keep the Sabres in the game. While watching Miller make stop after, stop you can almost see his frustration with the team rising as they continually fail to give him help.
Brian Flynn scored his 2nd career NHL goal to get the Sabres on the board and was one of the best players in blue and gold on the ice against the Flyers.
Things turned ugly when Wayne Simmonds elbowed Tyler Ennis into the boards in the first period. Simmonds was not given a penalty on the play and only dropped the mitts Mike Weber to answer for the hit. Ironically despite standing up for a teammate who just got hit from behind head first into the boards, Weber was given two for instigating, five for fighting and a 10 minute misconduct while Simmonds was just given five.
The officiating in the game was absolutely horrendous. In an attempt to keep the game from getting out of hand the refs handed out mis-conduct penalties left, right and centre. John Scott was given one for talking to Zac Rinaldo before a face-off, Rinaldo earned himself one after a charging penalty where he actually missed his check, TJ Brennan got one for virtually nothing, Steve Ott was handed one after hitting Rinaldo awkwardly into the boards- heck the only one who didn’t receive a misconduct was Luke Schenn after hitting Nathan Gerbe into the boards from behind. Schenn was given 2 minutes for boarding but his hit was arguably worse than the hit on Ennis, as it was completely unnecessary as Gerbe had passed the puck and was not expecting the hit at all.
Both hits by Rinaldo and Schenn were questionable and should earn them a phone call from Shanahan but I would be very surprised if either gets as much as a tap on the wrist. Sabres fans can only hope the injury to Ennis isn’t serious and he’ll be back soon.
Claude Giroux scored at the beginning of the 2nd period to give the Flyers a 3-1 lead and Ott led a 2 on 1 which Hecht was able to capitalize on to bring the Sabres within one in the 3rd. The Sabres came close to tying the game on a shot by Cody Hodgson that beat Ilya Bryzgalov but was cleared off the goal line by Brayden Schenn.
This is the 2nd game in the last 7 the Sabres failed to drag out a point and was honestly one of their worst efforts. They played with little heart and passion and looked more like a beer league team at times against the much more dominate Flyers. The Sabres are now 29th in the NHL and are riding a 4 game losing streak while the Flyers snapped their 3 game losing streak. Things are not looking good for the Buffalo Sabres.