Flyers Drop Listless Effort in Buffalo

The Philadelphia Flyers saw an impeccable start by Brian Elliott fall by the wayside with a listless early effort and failed comeback attempt.

By Dan Heaning, Sports Talk Philly staff writer 

As the Philadelphia Flyers play their last two games before the holiday break, tonight's game against the Buffalo Sabres was the low-hanging fruit. The game they had to have. Instead, a sloppy and listless effort doomed the team to a 4-2 defeat.

The Sabres put the game away at 8:52, when a Josh Gorges shot from the point was deflected by Evander Kane. Elliott believed Kane's stick was above the crossbar, but it was determined to be a legal goal which put the Sabres up 2-0.

Michael Raffl put the Flyers on the board as he deflected a Claude Giroux shot from above the circle to give Philadelphia a puncher's chance for a comeback. However, Jack Eichel would cash twice on different empty net opportunities to put the Sabres up 3-1 and 4-2 and sure up the win for Buffalo.

Shayne Gostisbehere put Philadelphia back within one with just over 30 seconds left in the game with a one-time howitzer from Giroux.

After two brilliant periods by Flyers goaltender Brian Elliott, it was a soft third period goal that opened the scoring.

With 16:02 left in the third, Ryan O'Reilly took an odd angle shot from behind the goal line that squeaked between Elliott's arm and pad as he attempted to hug the post.

The goal served as a turning point due to the team's porous play throughout the entire game. The Flyers offered their goalie zero goal support and turned the puck over entirely too much forcing him to make remarkable saves. Therefore, any mistake on Elliott's part would essentially end the game.

Through the first two periods, the Flyers dismal effort meant Elliott had to be spectacular.

Early in the opening frame, Robert Hagg threw a point pass directly to Kane. Kane's breakaway attempt was impeded by Gostisbehere so the Sabres leading scorer was given a penalty shot. On the free attempt, Kane tried to go top corner on Elliott's glove side. However, the Buffalo winger could not get enough elevation and shot it right into Elliott positionally sound glove.

Elliott also made a timely stick check and skate save on Eichel on the Buffalo power play during the opening frame. After two Flyers went into the boards with Kyle Okposo, Kane was able to find the loose puck and back hand a pass to a wide open Eichel in front of the crease. Eichel moved to his backhand, but Elliott stuck out both his right pad and his stick to prevent a Sabres goal.

The sloppiness and Elliott's start play continued into the second period almost immediately. After stopping Kane on a backhander, the puck found its way to the point. However, at the same time, two nearby players, Andrew MacDonald and Okposo, forced Elliott to spin away from the play. The result was Elliott performing a spin-o-rama save on Marco Scandella slap shot from the point.

Then near the 13-minute mark, Elliott stopped Kane from the slot as the Buffalo winger was left all alone in front when the Flyers defenders became fixated on O'Reilly from behind the net.

Philadelphia will have one more shot at a win before the break as they travel to Columbus to take on the Blue Jackets at 7 p.m.

Box Score

  1 2 3 T
Flyers 0 0 2 2
Sabres 0 0 4 4

Scoring Summary

1st Period

  • No scoring

2nd Period

  • No scoring

3rd Period

  • BUF – Ryan O'Reilly (9, 3:59) from Evander Kane (18)
  • BUF – Evander Kane (15, 11:08) from Josh Gorges (2) and Kyle Okposo (1o)
  • PHI – Michael Raffl (6, 17:50) from Claude Giroux (27) and Jake Voracek (35)
  • BUF – Jack Eichel (12, 18:53) from Marco Scandella (8) and Ryan O'Reilly (14)
  • PHI- Shayne Gostisbehere (7, 19:28) from Claude Giroux (28) and Jake Voracek (36)
  • BUF – Jack Eichel (13, 19:59) from Marco Scandella (9)

Game Statistics

  Flyers Sabres
Shots 35 37
Power Plays 1/5 0/2
Hits 17 21
Faceoff % 48% 52%
Giveaways 9 7
Takeaways 4 3
Blocked Shots 10 14
Penalty Minutes 4 10
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