From the three-minute mark of the third, a familiar margin was staring the Flyers in the face again. One goal would even the score, and unlike some of their recent one-goal defeats over the last couple of weeks, there was time to try to find the equalizer.
But just like the other recent results, the tying goal eluded the Orange and Black. The Flyers four-game homestand came to an end with a 5-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday night at Wells Fargo Center.
The Flyers needed just 55 seconds to get on the board. On a two-on-one, Joel Farabee attempted to center for Bobby Brink, but the pass deflected off Henri Jokiharju and sailed past Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen to make it 1-0 on Farabee’s fifth of the season.
The Sabres responded less than three minutes later. At 3:38, the Sabres capitalized on a transition rush with Casey Mittelstadt finishing off his third goal of the season.
At 9:29 of the period, the Sabres appeared to take the lead as Jeff Skinner fired a shot high that beat Carter Hart. However, the Flyers challenged that the play was offside and were successful, keeping the game even at one.
That was short-lived, as just 31 seconds later, the Sabres did get the lead. Tage Thompson drew the attention of the Flyers defenders and was able to center the puck to the crease. Brandon Biro jumped in and put home the scoring chance for his first NHL goal to make it 2-1 at the halfway point of the period.
That was the end of Hart’s night. Hart had appeared to suffer an injury earlier in the period and the second Buffalo goal prompted another visit from trainers. He exited making three saves on five shots.
With 3:43 remaining in the period, the Flyers got the game tied up. Travis Sanheim led a rush up the ice. The puck appeared to be knocked off his stick as he was attempting a shot, gliding through the Buffalo defense and off the stick of Cam Atkinson, beating Luukkonen for his sixth goal of the season to even things at two.
Through 20 minutes, shots were 10-7 Flyers.
In the second, the Flyers controlled most of the period, extending their lead in shots to 20-11 through 40 minutes. They were able to generate more scoring chances in the period despite a lot of choppy play from both sides.
At 3:03 of the third, the Sabres grabbed the lead again. Off a 3-on-2, Owen Power got the puck with space and fired a laser to beat Sam Ersson and make it a 3-2 game.
As the Flyers continued to apply pressure in search of the tying goal, the Sabres scored on their next opportunity at 13:27. Thompson picked up his third point of the game with his fifth goal of the season to make it 4-2.
Biro scored his second goal of the game into an empty net at 16:52 to cap the scoring.
Ersson made seven saves on nine shots in relief of Hart. Luukkonen made 38 saves on 40 shots in the win.
In addition to Thompson’s three-point game, Mittelstadt, Biro, and Alex Tuch each had two points.
The Flyers face off against the Sabres again on Friday night on the road at 7 p.m.