Better With Popcorn

Physical Flyers Escape With Tight Win Over the Sabres

Something had to have been said before the game because a different Flyers team was out on the ice.

The Flyers controlled the tempo early, kept Buffalo mentally out of the game, and gave a much better team effort that didn't resemble last week's edition of the Flyers. 

They had to battle with Buffalo though, who was throwing the body around and trying to draw the Flyers into making mental mistakes with the physical game. In the end, the Flyers overcame it, winning a nail-biting 3-2 game in which head coach Peter Laviolette saw some positives.

"I thought we did a lot of good things tonight," Laviolette said. "Smarter with the puck and more physical, established an offensive game right away there was more determination going towards their net and that includes any physical play and people on the pucks."

The Flyers struck first, again boasting their power play which finished the night 2-for-6. Less than five minutes into the game, they drew the penalty on Robyn Regehr's high stick and capitalized on the chance.

Kimmo Timonen sent a pass up the middle of the ice, connecting with Simon Gagne. Gagne, who was already behind the Sabres defense, fired a half-slap shot on Ryan Miller, beating him five-hole to give Philadelphia a 1-0 lead.

The special team connected for the Flyers again, but this time it was the penalty kill getting into the act.

Steve Ott let go of a blind pass and Ruslan Fedotenko took advantage of it. He and Max Talbot skated in on Miller with a 2-on-1, connecting for the Flyers first short-handed goal of the season Talbot's second, making it a 2-0 game.

"Yeah well special teams are always big," said Talbot. "Obviously when you go to kill a penalty the first thing you think is about actually killing it. But when you have a chance to score, it’s definitely a momentum boost for the team."

The Flyers held the Sabres without a shot through the first 11 minutes of the game. But the first shot on goal for the Sabres turned out to have value.

Brian Flynn corralled the loose puck off a blocked shot, putting it past Ilya Bryzgalov to cut the Flyers lead in half, 2-1.

The Flyers came out strong again in the second period, needing only 17 seconds to extend their lead. With over a minute of power play change left over from the end of the first, Claude Giroux scored for the first time in four games to make it 3-1.

They carried that lead into the third until the Sabres made it a close game again.

With the Flyers on the power play again, Ott made up for his turnover, knocking the puck away from Giroux. Ott and Jochen Hecht skated in on a 2-on-1. Hecht received the puck and squeezed one past Bryzgalov to make it a 3-2 game.

Cody Hogdson nearly tied the game up shortly after. Bryzgalov was a bit leaky again, letting a slapper from Hogdson trickled through him and head towards the net.

As the puck aproached the goal line, Brayden Schenn rescued his netminder. He cleared the puck into the corner at the last second, preserving the Flyers lead and game.

"Big save! Big save," Bryzgalov said after the game about the play by Schenn. If it weren't for that fast reaction by Schenn it would have been a 3-3 game with a bulk of the momentum swung in Buffalo's favor.

“I just remember it was just two-on-two, from the red line in," Schenn said after the game. "They shot it, it must have deflected and I actually thought [Bryzgalov] made the save originally. I saw it squeak through. I don’t know how close it was, I haven’t seen the replay yet. But it’s always good to help the goalie out.”

------

Follow John Russo (@Roose_TCL) and the site (@TCLFlyers) on Twitter