Photo credit: Amy Irvin (38photography)
The Flyers beat the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday night with a final score of 2-1, in the last game of the four-game road trip. Matt Read scored the first goal early in the game while Michael Raffl scored the game-winner in the third. Nikita Zadorov scored for Buffalo, tying the game in the second period. Ray Emery made 21 saves on 22 shots on goal, and on the other end of the ice, Michal Neuvirth stopped 28 of the Flyers’ 30 shots.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: The Flyers take an early one-goal lead in the first period, then in the second period they decide that they don’t have to compete hard anymore, get outplayed, spend way too much time in their own zone and wind up losing the lead.
That’s what it looked like the Flyers were doing tonight. After Matt Read’s early goal, only 3 minutes into the game, the Flyers failed to keep that momentum in the second. To add to the Flyers lackluster play, the Sabres got a two-man advantage with six minutes left in the second. Braydon Coburn was called for tripping while Claude Giroux was given a high sticking penalty. Nikita Zadorov took a one-timer that went by Emery, who was screened by Pierre-Edouard Bellmare. Luckily for the Flyers, Ray Emery was at the top of his game keeping the score tied time after time. The Flyers were outshot 11-9 in the second period.
The third period wasn’t much better and it seemed like overtime would be necessary until Michael Raffl stuffed in a wraparound goal with 7:15 left to play. The rest of the third period, the Flyers defended their one goal lead, desperate not to repeat their performances in Montreal and Columbus. Raffl came back to the Flyers lineup after missing 8 games with pneumonia, he joined the third line with Ryan White and R.J. Umberger. They were able to hold onto the lead and take two points away from the last game of the road trip.
For a team trying to earn a playoff spot, the Flyers didn’t really play like they wanted it too much. This reluctant win puts them within 5 points of the Boston Bruins and the last wildcard spot, but if they continue to play like this, even if they do make it into the playoffs, it’s unlikely they’ll go very far. The Flyers have points in their last nine games and have no regulation losses since beating the Penguins in overtime on January 20th.
The Flyers have points in their last nine games and have no regulation losses since beating the Penguins in overtime on January 20th. Braydon Coburn was also back in the lineup after being out since January 14th.