Sabres cough up 2-goal lead

11:56van Riemsdyk (11)Joel Farabee (10)Sean Couturier (9)
14:33Sam Reinhart (10)Dylan Cozens (2)Taylor Hall (13)
19:39Riley Sheahan (3)Eric Staal (6)Victor Olofsson (11)
116:39Sam Reinhart (11)Taylor Hall (14)Rasmus Dahlin (10)
22:58Kevin Hayes (9)Scott Laughton (8)Justin Braun (2)
26:20Brandon Montour (1)Kyle Okposo (2)Tobias Rieder (1)
215:05Claude Giroux (4)Jakub Voracek (13)Ivan Provorov (9)
314:14PPGShayne Gostisbehere (4)Sean Couturier (10)Joel Farabee (11)
SO----Nolan Patrick------

The Buffalo Sabres faced off against the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday, wrapping up the last game of their road trip before coming back to Buffalo. The Sabres were coming off three straight 5-2 losses at the hands of the New York Islanders, and were riding a seven game losing streak. More than anything else, this game was about showing some resilience and putting up a fight against a team miles ahead of them in the standings.

The first period started in a way Sabres fans have gotten used to of late: the Sabres let up a goal less than two minutes into the game, as the Flyers’ James van Riemsdyk potted a goal, beating Jonas Johansson to get the Flyers on the board early.

The Sabres were outscored 15-6 in the three games prior to Monday’s matchup, so this was a familiar spot for them to be early in the game. They wouldn’t trail for long, though, as Sam Reinhart tied it up, 1-1, just a couple of minutes later.

Reinhart, who has been the most consistent Sabres player this season, scored his 10th goal on the year. Rookie Dylan Cozens, filling in for an injured captain Jack Eichel in the first line center slot, recorded his first assist playing center, with Taylor Hall picking up the secondary assist.

It wasn’t too long after the tying goal that the Sabres would get the go-ahead goal, this one a backhand rebound opportunity from Riley Sheahan, set up nicely thanks to Eric Staal’s hard-nose drive in front of the net. Victor Olofsson would pick up the other assist on the play.

Late in the first period, Reinhart would score his second of the game and 11th of the season, after Taylor Hall dished a nice pass to help put the Sabres up 3-1 to end the first. Rasmus Dahlin notched the secondary helper on the goal to put the Sabres up by two goals heading into the middle frame.

Flyers goalie Carter Hart was replaced by Brian Elliott to start the second period after giving up three goals, which didn’t bode well for the Sabres – Elliott shut out the Sabres in his last two starts against them this season.

Less than three minutes into the second, Kevin Hayes made it 3-2 for the Flyers. The teams would spend the period trading goals, as Brandon Montour ripped a wrist shot top shelf over the shoulder of Elliott to put the Sabres up 4-2. That two goal lead wouldn’t last as long as any other lead in this game, though, with Claude Giroux bringing the Flyers within one after a late second period tally.

The two teams would spend the majority of the third period trading chances, with not much happening besides a couple of power plays. A power play late in the period, however, proved to be a crucial moment in this hockey game, as Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere scored from the point to even things up, 4-4. These teams were going to overtime.

The Sabres, who were 0-2 in overtime this year to begin the extra frame, actually played pretty well in the additional five minutes. Johansson made a huge save on Sean Couturier on a breakaway to save the game, and Taylor Hall had a pair of golden scoring chances at the Flyers net. Montour broke up a three-on-one with admirable hustle in a back checking effort, and it was enough to take the game to a shootout.

All things exciting for the Sabres ended there, though, as the Flyers first two shooters scored, and the Sabres first two shooters, Dahlin and Casey Mittelstadt, were stopped to hand the win to the Flyers, 5-4.

The Sabres earned a point in the overtime loss, but still dropped their eighth straight game. They are now 1-7-2 in their last ten. Three points back of the New Jersey Devils, they’re not destined for dead last, but their playoff hopes are, once again, all but gone. They face the Pittsburgh Penguins for the first time this season on Thursday, and look to get back in the win column then.

Brandon Seltenrich
Goalie from San Francisco currently studying toward a Bachelor of Science in Sport Management at Canisius College. Founder of and host of the Puck SKLS Podcast. Avid hockey writer, podcaster, and statistician in the Buffalo area.
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