On a frigid night where the temperatures dropped well below zero across Western New York, the Buffalo Sabres dropped a tough 2-1 decision to the visiting Philadelphia Flyers.
The game was eerily similar to Buffalo’s last outing, also a 2-1 home loss, to the Ottawa Senators five days ago. Like a car in these near-artic temperatures, it took a little while for the Sabres to warm up. They were outshot 15-5 in the first period, where the Flyers cemented control with the game’s first score.
Wayne Simmonds fired a shot at the net, which deflected off Matt Read’s stick as he crossed in front of the Buffalo net. The puck zipped by starting netminder Michal Neuvirth and gave Read his fifth goal on the year in his first game back after a seven-game layoff due to illness.
The Sabres finally heated up in the second. They outshot the Flyers 11-9 and matched them on the scoreboard with a power play goal. With both Claude Giroux and Braydon Coburn in the penalty box, the Sabres cashed in on the 5-on-3 advantage off a blistering shot by Nikita Zadorov that blew past Flyers goaltender Ray Emery.
Buffalo hung with the Flyers for the remainder of the game until a split-second slip up late in the third. With the puck bouncing behind the Buffalo net, Neuvirth glanced in the wrong direction to get a sense of its place, allowing Michael Raffl to complete a wraparound and slip the puck past the Sabres new starting netminder.
Despite dropping his 10th straight start, Neuvirth finished the night with an encouraging performance. He stopped 28 of 30 shots against, including all that the Flyers flew at him on the power play.
Another impressive performance for the Sabres came from newly-acquired Zach Bogosian in his first game donning blue and gold. Bogosian filled the void left by Myers more than admirably, leading the Sabres in time on ice with over 24 minutes, as well as standing head and shoulders above the rest of the team with 11 hits on the night.
He’ll get his next opportunity to lay into the opposition in just a couple of nights. The Sabres next play Tuesday night when they head on the road to visit the New Jersey Devils. That game is scheduled for 7:30 PM EST from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.