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Flyers dismally begin road trip; fall 3-1 in Buffalo

For the Flyers, the five-game road trip that they started on Friday was a chance to regroup and generate positivity, following a pair of largely-unspectacular losses earlier in the week. 

Dave Hakstol changed his lines up -- most notably, splitting the top pairing of Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek and Michael Raffl -- in order to develop new chemistry amongst his forwards. This came one day after changing up the entirety of his defensive corps, prior to their 4-1 loss to New Jersey.

These drastic changes were not enough of a spark for the Flyers, as they fell 3-0 to the Buffalo Sabres to kick the road trip off. As was the case on Thursday, the Flyers were plagued by a lack of discipline, and they failed to generate possession and scoring chances.

Ryan O'Reilly torched the Flyers (4-4-2) with three points of the night, two of them being assists. He set up rookie sensation Jack Eichel (who came up short when both teams met on Tuesday) with 36 seconds to play in the first period, giving the Sabres a 1-0 lead heading into the dressing room.

As Vinny Lecavalier sat for an interference penalty early in the second,  O'Reilly made it a 2-0 game off of a deflection. He then set Nicolas Deslauriers up for his third marker of the season 3:12 into the third stanza, off of an impressive saucer pass on the rush.

With 3:26 to play, Mark Streit finally got the Flyers on the board with his third of the season, with R.J. Umberger and Sam Gagner providing the helpers.  Streit's goal was his seventh point, giving him sole possession the team lead.

The Orange and Black found themselves shorthanded on six different occasions, four of which came in the second period alone. They yielded just the O'Reilly goal to their credit, but for those keeping score at home, that's 11 penalties in a two-game stretch.

Puck possession also came at a premium for the Flyers, thanks in part to the staggering volume of penalties taken. The Flyers mustered just 14 shots through the first two periods (a number they matched in the third period), and were dominated in the faceoff circle (ultimately losing out 36-31). The team's power play also continued its struggle, as it was scoreless on all three opportunities it was presented with.

Starting his first game since Oct. 21, Michal Neuvirth allowed three goals on 36 shots -- against the Sabres team he spent parts of two seasons with. Linus Ullmark posted 27 saves on 28 shots, en route to his first NHL win.

The Flyers will have a cross-country and cross-border flight to put this game past them, as they head to Vancouver for a Monday date with the Canucks.

Rob Riches is a contributor to Flyerdelphia and Sports Talk Philly. Follow him on Twitter @Riches61


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