Final Score: BUF 6 PHI 1
The Buffalo Sabres followed up the Bills convincing victory on Saturday night with a rock solid performance themselves Monday in Philadelphia.
Curtis Lazar opened the scoring late in the first period of a backhand that ramped off the defensemen’s stick for a pretty finish.
Sam Reinhart found the net twice in under three minutes to give the Sabres a 3-0 lead. The setup from Taylor Hall in the first clip is beautiful, weaving through two guys and getting a perfect pass. It’s a nice finish from Reinhart at a severe angle.
Hall makes another great effort to create offense, winning a battle in the corner and the puck finds Reinhart who gets off a quick wrister.
Riley Sheahan played a sold all around game, but his most notable play was this no-look pass to Lazar for his second of the game, increasing the lead to 4-1.
Henri Jokiharju got in on the action with an odd goal, but they count as much as the pretty ones.
The Flyers find the back of the net to make it 5-1 with just over two minutes to go. A tap in for Aube-Kubel late in the third, this one stung a bit to break the shutout.
After the Flyers goal, Aube-Kubel essentially punched Dahlin in the face, was penalized and Olofsson rubbed salt in the wound with another goal. A nice play by Eichel and Hall to get him the puck and Olofsson did the rest.
Arrow up/Arrow down:
- Hall – Eichel – Reinhart Line: Late in the second period, announcers Pierre McGuire and Kenny Albert perfectly described what they were witnessing. It looked like the Harlem Globetrotters playing the Generals. There is so much skill, hockey IQ and physical ability all on one line. At one point late in the second period, the Sabres top line held the puck in the Flyers end for over a minute.
While the first two games weren’t bad for the Sabres top line — last night, on the national stage, everybody saw the true potential of the Taylor Hall.
- Curtis Lazar: Have yourself a night, Curtis Lazar. Two goals for one of the nicest guys on the team. He’s always had the jump in his step and fills a bottom six role nicely, all he needs is to produce with some consistency and he could be an under the radar gem on this season.
- Jeff Skinner : The production may not be there, but Skinner played well again last night. He looks dynamic with the puck and looks like he could become a matchup nightmare behind Hall and Eichel. While Sheahan and especially Lazar were producing offensively, there isn’t an expectation that will continue on a consistent basis. An idea that would feels widely supported would be to put Skinner with Staal and Cozens. Staal could use some help as his game is getting to a bit of a slower start than expected and Cozens has the speed to match Skinner step for step. It’s also fair to dismiss any lineup critiques after a 6-1 win, but long term, I like that better than Skinner – Lazar – Sheahan.
- Rasmus Ristolainen: Risto was aggressive in defensive transition and led the team with 8 hits. He wasn’t chasing players trying to run them 6 rows deep either. On multiple occasions, he was stepping up on a guy trying to dump the puck in. With back-checkers filling their lanes, he went heat-seeking missile, taking out a few Flyers in the process.
- No Shutout for Hutton: On a night with the offensive output, there will be a slight sour taste in the locker room for coming two minutes shy of a shutout. Don’t expect Hutton to make a big deal of it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if each guy took a moment last night to think about it. Again, the good vastly outweighed the bad yesterday, they deserved that win and it was convincing.
- Linus Ullmark was a late scratch for the Sabres yesterday due to personal reasons. There is no update as of right now, but whatever it is, I know I speak for everyone at TCB when we wish Linus and his family all the best during this time.
- After the fourth Sabres goal, Flyers coach Alain Vigneault pulled starting goaltender Carter Hart. With Vigneault committing to Brian Elliot for tomorrow’s back-to-back finale, the Sabres could escape their brief trip to Philadelphia only seeing a period and half of the Flyers star goalie.
- Rasmus Dahlin took a high stick/fist to the nose in the weening moments of the 3rd. He immediately headed to the locker room to tend to his bloody nose. An update will likely come in the morning as to the severity of the injury, but something to keep an eye on tomorrow. Head Coach Ralph Krueger certainly wasn’t pleased by the play.
- Rasmus Ristolainen ended up leaving the game injured as well. Going down two defenseman and having to replace them with guys that haven’t seen game action in 10 months is an early test for the Sabres.
The Sabres are right back at it tonight in Philadelphia. Do not expect a performance like that from the Flyers. Expect a fired up group in orange from the drop of the puck. Their next game after the final horn tonight comes Friday night in Washington.
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