Sabres quieted by Elliott, Flyers


After garnering points in each of the last four games (2-0-2), the Sabres failed to extend the streak to five, losing 2-1 to the Flyers Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

Despite a quick start for Buffalo, the Flyers dominated both possession and shots on goal for the majority of the game. After being outshot 27-20, the Sabres failed to muster quality chances against Flyers goalie Brian Elliott, who had a rocky start to the game.

The deciding goal came in the dying minutes of the second period. After multiple attempts to clear the zone, coupled with lapses in defensive coverage, the Flyers took a 2-1 lead on Valtteri Filppula’s eighth goal of the season.

Robin Lehner made a couple desperate saves to preserve the tie game, but after Zach Bogosian failed to clear the zone it was apparent it was only a matter of time before the Flyers struck.

The Sabres were outplayed the majority of the game, but one might not have expected that based their quick start. Ryan O’Reilly got the Sabres on the board early in this one, scoring about 1:30 into the game. Flyers goalie Brian Elliott made a clumsy play with the puck behind the net, handing the puck over to Zemgus Girgensons who then fed O’Reilly with a pass in front for his eighth goal of the season.

Only a few minutes later, Elliott made an almost identical bobble with the puck, but Sam Reinhart was unable to capitalize on the play. That would have given the Sabres an early 2-0 lead, but to no avail.

The Flyers ruined the Sabres’ hopes of running away with the game only a few minutes after O’Reilly’s goal. Much like the Flyer’s second goal, their first one occurred because the Sabres repeatedly failed to clear the zone.

After a Justin Falk turnover on the boards, Dale Weise found rookie defenseman Travis Sanheim at the point, who rifled a shot past Lehner. Sanheim’s first goal of the season tied the game at one, which was the inevitable turning point in the game.

After long stretches this season with a struggling power-play, the Sabres had actually entered the game scoring three goals in the last three games. The Sabres got only one opportunity with the man advantage, but nothing materialized.

As was talked about prior to the game, the Sabres’ 5-on-5 play has to improve.

Despite the loss, some notable players continued to play strong. The best player for Buffalo tonight and over the last five games has been Lehner. He had another solid game, saving 25 of 27 shots.

Girgensons’ play has also shown improvement over the last stretch of games. Since joining on a line with Okposo and O’Reilly, there has been a noticeable spark to his game. He assisted on O’Reilly’s goal tonight and was credited with seven hits.

The Sabres will look to get back in the win column tomorrow night against the Carolina Hurricanes. Puck drop is slated for 7 p.m. at KeyBank Center.




Matt Studemeyer
Matt Studemeyer
Although born and raised in Charleston, SC, I've had a passion for both hockey and the Buffalo Sabres since childhood. In addition to writing, I'm also an avid musician/guitarist and currently work in the moving and transportation industry.
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