ICYMI: Sabres 3, Flyers 1

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 9.58.58 PM

There was a lot to like about the Sabres 3-1 win over the Flyers Friday night at the First Niagara Center.

Despite playing their third game in four nights, they showed a lot of pep, dominating play for extended stretches.

They continued their shot barrage, piling up 36 shots on former teammate Michal Neuvirth. Buffalo now has 89 shots on goal in their past two games, including a season-high 53 in a 4-3 loss at the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday. Almost every shift they’re generating opportunities. Sooner or later, you’re going to win games with that kind of offense.

Ryan O’Reilly, one of the hottest players in the NHL right now, continued his torrid pace, tallying a goal and two assists. He’s now alone in fifth place in the NHL scoring race with 13 points. He logged a career high 26:03 of ice time and went 20 for 36 on faceoffs. “He was the best player on the ice for us tonight. We counted on him in a lot of areas, not just getting points,” commented Coach Bylsma during his post-game press conference.

Linus Ullmark came away with his first win in the NHL and within a few minutes of a shutout. Despite not seeing a lot of rubber, he played a steady game and made several saves at critical moments, not allowing Philadelphia any momentum.

In all, it was a convincing win for Buffalo. While the scoreboard showed a final score of 3-1 in favor of Buffalo, it could’ve easily been a laugher. Neuvirth had no chance on the goals that he let in, but made a lot of great saves, keeping the Flyers in it for much of the game.

Buffalo’s puck movement and pressure gave the Flyers headaches all night, resulting in a number of Flyer penalties.

Eichel, who electrifies the crowd every time he’s on the ice, scored another beauty. He took a pass from O’Reilly, skated into the slot and wristed a shot that beat Neuvirth to his blocker side. It put the Sabres up 1-0. Surprisingly, each of Eichel’s four goals so far have come on home ice.

In the second period, O’Reilly took a pass from Brian Gionta and buried a shot from the left faceoff circle. It was a power play goal.

In the third, after the Sabres killed a questionable penalty, Marcus Foligno showed great vision, sending a perfect stretch pass up the ice to O’Reilly. Deslauriers joined him for a 2-on-1 breakaway. With a sweet backhand pass from O’Reilly, Deslauriers simply chipped the puck over Neuvirth’s shoulder for his third goal of the year. “He’s an amazing player. I didn’t need to do much,” said Deslauriers.

With just 43 seconds left, Josh Gorges pushed Matt Read from behind, sending him crashing into the boards. It earned Gorges a 5 munute boarding major and a game misconduct. He’ll likely get a look from Player Safety as well.

In a what-a-difference-a-year-makes stat, coming into the game, the Sabres had outshot their opponents in eight of their first 10 games this season. Last season, the Sabres hadn’t outshot their opponents eight times until their 76th game.

Ennis missed his second consecutive game.

The Sabres make their inaugural trip to Brooklyn and the Barclays Center on Sunday to meet the Islanders. Game time is 7:35 p.m.

Jeff Seide
Jeff Seide
I've been a Sabres fan since my first game in the Aud in '76 against the Habs. I sat in the lower golds for that game and though I've been to close to 400 games, I've never sat as close as I did that night.
[td_block_social_counter facebook="BuffaloHockeyCentral" twitter="BHCdotcom" custom_title="Follow BHC:" header_color="#002654" open_in_new_window="y"]