• Andrew McGuinness

Flyers Fan Reaction (FFR1) Gm 63: BUF 2, PHI 5 - Elltelligent

Starting the game on time, outplaying the oppositon throughout, and winning a big game on home ice? Now that's smart, Flyers.

The Philadelphia Flyers WIN for the second time in as many games wearing the special Stadium Series jerseys. They weren't outdoors for this one, but they did beat the Buffalol Sabres (they earned it) 5-2 in the biggest game of their season. Until next game.

Over the course of this 14-3-1 hot streak, it seems like the Flyers have never been able to have their cake and eat it, too. Either they were outshot and outplayed for most of the game, riding incredible goaltending (usually Carter Hart) to victory, or they actually played a good game and still found a way to lose.

Until tonight. One constant of this streak has been the Flyers slow starts to games. Rocking the same uniforms they rocked in Saturday's Stadium Series victory, the Flyers picked up from where they left off. Just 36 seconds into the game, Nolan Patrick drew a hooking penalty, sending the Flyers to an early PP.

The Flyers looked like they missed Wayne Simmonds' presence, failing to generate much of anything on the man advantage. But the Flyers kept the play alive when play returned to even strength. Freshing off drawing the penalty, Patty got the puck to the front of the net to Oskar Lindblom, who Oskar Liftblomed the puck over the arm of Carter Hutton to start the scoring.

A few minutes later, Ryan Hartman got his first shift as a Flyer, and he did not disappoint. Hartman clobbered Rasmus Dahlin and then got in a half-fight with Zach Bogosian, drawing an extra penalty on Buffalo. Once again, the Flyers power play looked flat and the Sabres killed it off. But Buffalo's defense, clearly still fatigued, let Jake Voracek get two wacks at a rebound from Giroux, the second of which he banged in. First NHL point Phil Myers via secondary assist, and it's 2-0 Flyers just like that! What could possibly go wrong?

Scott Laughton taking a hooking penalty. That's what could go wrong. The Flyers nearly turned a bouncing puck at their own blueline into an odd man rush. But Rasmus Dahlin beat Sean Couturier to the puck, Jeff Skinner got it down low, and Jack Eichel fired a snipe iron-and-in to cut the lead in half. Buffalo nearly tied things up on another power play, but Philadelphia's PK held down the fort, and the lead stayed 2-1 after 20 minutes, with the Flyers holding a 19-6 edge in shots.

The second period was clearly the best one for Buffalo. But despite outshooting the Flyers 16-11, the frame didn't feel like it was tilted too much to either side. Philadelphia broke through with less than 5 minutes left, when James van Redirectsdyk tipped a Hagg shot past Hutton. The two goal lead was short-lived, as Ghost failed to hit Evan Rodrigues at the blue line, leading to a 2-on-1. Rodrigues threaded the needle around Phil Myers, and Casey Mittelstadt banged home the backdoor pass for just his 2nd goal in the last 13 games to cut the lead in half.

Needless to say, the 3rd period was insanely critical. A win would push the Flyers into 10th in the East for the first time in months. A loss would be damning for their playoff hopes. And we all know what's going to happen, here comes... Travie Sanheim sniping a 4-on-4 goal past an Eichel-screened Hutton to extend the lead just 46 seconds into the 3rd-where has this been all season, Flyers?

Granted, it wasn't great that the entire 3rd felt like it was being played at 4-on-4, with both sides creating chances. Thankfully, the Flyers avoided the temptation to turtle, never letting Buffalo control play for longer than a shift or two. Brian Elliott's play wasn't pretty, but he was perfect on 14 3rd period shots, shutting the Sabres down in the biggest stage of the game. With 2 and a half minutes left, Dahlin turned the puck over at his blueline, and G fired home the ENG, securing a massive two points for the Flyers and setting up a massive showdown with the 9th team in the East, Columbus, on Thursday.

Game Notes

Sean Couturier's assist on Sanheim's goal was the 200th of his NHL career. He's also got 20 points in his last 15 games, and 9 points in his last 6.

Speaking of Coots, our elite 1st line center was moved back onto the top PP unit tonight, replacing Wayne Simmonds. However, it's time to move Claude Giroux off the right boards. Putting G on the right does open up the down low pass to JVR, but Giroux is a far more effective on the left in my opinion.

Good for Phil Myers on getting his first NHL point tonight. It's been deserved. Myers hasn't had a bad effort in the 4 games he's played in so far. Granted, that's a pretty small sample size, but hopefully we're getting closer to the day where Scott Gordon doesn't feel the need to play 7 defenseman and actually healthy scratches AMac for once (good news - Mac's 8:55 TOI was more than 6 minutes less than any other defenseman).

A whopping 12 different Flyers had a point tonight, emphasizing how complete the Flyers played tonight. Shayne Gostisbehere had a couple turnovers, but he was the only Flyer that had anything close to a negative night. And even he was alright, playing mostly alongside Myers.

Ryan Hartman's Flyers debut went pretty well. He had some big hits, drew a penalty (technically 3, but two of them were wiped out to penalties of his own, one of which was an iffy embellishment call), and cycled the puck well. He could've done better on the backcheck on Buffalo's second goal, but other than that, not too bad.

One thing to keep an eye on with Hartman - ice time. He recieved 14:12 tonight. He received over 14 minutes just once in his last 21 games with Nashville, as it was becoming evident he just wasn't a fit with the Preds. We'll see if a bigger role leads to better things from the 24-year old forward going forward.

Wayne Simmonds also made his debut for Nashville tonight. In 15:46 of ice-time, Simmer recorded 2 shots on goal, but the Preds fell to the Blues 2-0.

Corban Knight played in his first game since October 27th tonight. Overall, his name was called more often than you'd expect for a borderline NHLer, but he received the lowest TOI of any Flyer forward, and he didn't do much to impress.

3 Stars

1st - O. Lindblom (PHI) - 1 G

2nd - B. Elliott (PHI) - .944 SV% (34 Saves/36 Shots)

3rd - R. Hartman (PHI) - T-Team High 4 Hits, 4 SOG, 14:12 TOI


BUF - 3/1 vs. PIT (33-22-8)

PHI - 2/28 @ CBJ (35-24-3 - 8th in East at 73 PTS , PHI - 10th at 67)