The Flyers entered Saturdays tilt with the Sabres looking to end their recent skid. Losers of two straight the Orange and Black pack needed a solid effort to top a playoff hungry Buffalo team. Unfortunately, bad bounces and some timely shot blocking proved to be too much.
The first period started out with the Sabres trying to impose their physical will on the Flyers. The two teams struggled to gain the upper hand early. After a few minutes it appeared that Philadelphia was gaining some traction.
After killing off a 5 on 3 man advantage, the Flyers capitalized on a power play of their own to open the scoring. What looked to be a broken play saw Matt Carle deep in the corner with the disc. Carle slid a pass through the mass of humanity in the crease to a wide open Verbeauty for the slam dunk. FINALLY! A power play goal! I'm sure the McDonalds power play payoff winner will be happy with their mortgage payment.
Shortly after Versteeg's power play cash in, another young gun showed his skill. James van Riemsdyk potted his 16th of the season and eclipsed his goal total from all of last year. After a neutral zone turnover Giroux made a pass to JVR who made a nice deke leaving Morrisonn flat footed. James surged to the net a flipped a backhander, up where momma keeps the peanut butter, eh. It was a beautiful shot from Van Riemsdyk that made the score 2-0 Flyers.
The second period began with the Flyers again on the Peco power play. This was definitely a time when they could assert themselves and take the game by the throat. They failed to capitalize. After a comedy of errors and neutral zone turnovers by both teams. The Flyers seemed to lose a grip on the game.
Soon after Briere was dumped in the offensive zone without a call, Buffalo charged down the ice and drew a penalty. The Sabres wouldn't capitalize on the man advantage. However the momentum carried over seconds after it concluded, and Drew Stafford cashed in.
Braydon Coburn threw a blind pass up the boards right onto Tyler Ennis's stick. He got the puck to Vanek who threw the biscuit to a wide open Stafford in the slot. Stafford couldn't miss from there and ripped a wrister past Bobrovsky.
You could almost feel the air being sucked out of the Wells Fargo center following Stafford's tally. The fans became restless as the period went on almost sensing another blown 2 goal lead. Sure enough, Ennis would make their fears a reality with a very strange goal.
Ennis took the puck in the corner almost past the goal line. He fired a shot, or pass, I'm not sure even he knew. The puck took a ricochet off of defenseman Sean O'Donnell and into the open net. The Sabres didn't celebrate and no one seemed to know where the puck was or what was going on. After a few confusing seconds the Sabres were awarded their second goal of the game.
Less than two minutes later the Sabres would strike again on another strange looking goal. Andrej Sekera would make his way in from his point position. He fired three shots at Bobrovsky all of which were stopped. After each shot the puck found it's way right back to Andrej's stick. On the last attempt he wheeled around the net, beat a sprawling defenseman, and a down and out Bobrovsky to make it 3-2.
After a scrum that saw Scott Hartnell and Patrick Kaleta get coincidental roughing minors, and a Kris Versteeg penalty the Flyers found themselves on the wrong end of a 4 on 3 power play. Have no fear! Kimmo is here!
After a two on one rush was thwarted by Miller the Sabres started to attack the other way. Only they forgot one thing. The puck. Coburn stripped the disc and found a wide open Timonen. Kimmo gloved the puck down and fired a shot past the Sabres goal tender for his 100th career NHL goal. Congratulations Kimmo. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy!
The excitement was short lived as the tilt entered the third stanza. After the Flyers failed to capitalize on three or four glorious chances, including a 2 on 1 for Giroux who still refuses to shoot the puck, the Sabres turned the momentum.
At the 6:37 mark of the period Pominville finally broke the tie. He took one of the nicest saucer passes you will see from Thomas Vanek and tipped the puck past Sergei Bobrovsky making it 4-3
For the next few minutes the Orange and Black clad team seemed shell shocked. Soon they would get their legs back under them and carry the play. The Flyers played the most of the remaining period in their offensive zone. They just could not get pucks through to Miller as the Sabres did an oustanding job of shot blocking.
The Flyers remained frustrated until Nathan Gerbe finally ended their misery cashing in an empty netter. After winning yet another defensive zone draw the Sabres worked the puck out of the zone to a wide open Gerbe. He scored what had to be the easiest goal in his NHL career. So wide open in fact he could have skated the puck under the crossbar, without ducking...I couldn't resist.
The contest ended with the Flyers on the short end of things for a third consecutive time. Although sluggish at times, the Flyers seemed to show signs of life. They outplayed the Sabres for the first period and much of the third. Now if only they could put together a solid 60 minutes of play.
Keep your heads up boys. It was a much better effort than the last few games. Were it not for some crazy goals the outcome could have been much different.
The Flyers will skate on Broadway tomorrow as they take on the New York Rangers in NBC's game of the week. I am confident that a much different team will show up to take on the blue shirts. Mark my words.