Sabres embarrassed on National TV as Flyers win 6-3
It was evident from early on that Lehner wasn’t on his A-game, letting up lots of early rebounds, something that continued to be a problem for him all night. The 25 year-old netminder made just 24 stops on 30 shot attempts. He wasn’t getting the necessary help from the rest of the team as the first three Flyers goals were aided by a Buffalo turnover.
Matt Read opened the scoring on a redirection shot in front of the net at the 4:34 mark of the 1st period. Nick Cousins took the slap-shot from the point and the deflection snuck by Lehner on Read’s 8th goal of the year.
Evander Kane tied the game at one on a power-play goal for Buffalo. Philadelphia was very active in the defensive end, forcing Buffalo to move the puck a little quicker than they’re normally accustomed to. Jack Eichel had a fancy stick move to keep the puck in the zone, he fed it to Rasmus Ristolainen who shifted it over for Kane to bury. Sam Reinhart added an excellent screen to take away the eyes of Steve Mason, but it was Kane who buried the shot for his 22nd of the year. Eichel’s assist extended his point streak to 11 games.
Radko Gudas restored the Flyers one-goal advantage 4:58 into the 2nd period when he converted off a Marcus Foligno defensive zone turnover. Foligno got pulled to the ground and Gudas drove the right wing and fired a wrist shot past Lehner. It was a perfect shot over the short-side shoulder, but not a goal you’re looking to give up to a non-scorer.
The game was tied for the second time after Buffalo again quickly converted on a man advantage. Ryan O’Reilly won the draw and the puck got to Eichel’s stick. The 20 year-old was extremely patient with the puck before ripping a shot on Mason. Eichel got some help from a deflection off of a Philly defender in front, but the puck found the back of the net for his 100th career point.
Buffalo took tons of momentum off of Jack’s goal, but it couldn’t convert once more. Sam Reinhart threw a ridiculous saucer pass in front of the net to Matt Moulson, but Mason denied it. Evander Kane came down on his rush to feed Jake McCabe, but again Mason was there. Instead of extending on a good performance, they took a 180 degree swing and the Flyers dominated.
Zemgus Girgensons held onto the puck for an extended time in the zone. He tried loft a pass into a streaking Sabre that instead got picked off. The Flyers had an odd-man rush to the other end and a Jakub Voracek shot towards the net went in off the skate of Jordan Weal, the 2nd goal of his career.
The Flyers made it a two goal lead when captain Claude Giroux cleaned up the garbage from another Lehner rebound. Weal brought the puck into the zone and spun around to leave it for Michael Del Zotto. Lehner made the initial save on the point shot, but the rebound went right to Giroux’s stick in front of an open net as he ended a 12-game goal drought. Dan Bylsma challenged the goal for goaltender interference but the call was quickly confirmed.
Robin Lehner let in the 5th Philadelphia goal of the night off a deflection on a big slap shot from Michael Del Zotto. Chris VandeVelde got his stick out in front to tip the puck up top-shelf past Lehner’s blocker side shoulder, his 6th tally of the year.
Travis Konecny made a nice individual effort to notch the Flyers’ 6th goal of the night. He attacked the Sabres defense by his lonesome, made a little deke on Ristolainen and beat Lehner in a very similar fashion that Radko Gudas had done earlier in the game.
Jack Eichel scored his second of the game to make it 6-3 at the 14:50 mark of the 3rd period. Patience was again the name of the game for Eichel as he waited and waited with the puck before ripping another wrist shot past Mason for his 18th of the season. His celebration, or lack thereof, was evident of how he felt about the Sabres performance in the game.
The Sabres are now 1-4-2 since their week long break in late February. While the team performance has been poor, Jack Eichel has been the hottest player in the league. He has registered 24 points (6G, 18A) in his last 17 games, tops in the NHL during that timespan.
Buffalo’s next opportunity to right the ship comes Friday night as they start a home-and-home weekend series against the Blue Jackets. Puck drop is slated for 7:00 pm at Nationwide Arena in Columbus.