BUFFALO, NY --
The Flyers finished a two-game series with the Buffalo Sabres with a 6-1 loss on Wednesday night, continuing the defensive struggles they have shown all year. The Sabres (7-23-5) had lost 18 straight games coming into the contest, the largest losing streak in the NHL since 2000. The goals for the Sabres were scored by Reinhart, Lazar, Fogarty, Mittelstadt, and 2 for Montour. The lone Flyers goal was scored by Ivan Provorov, his sixth of the season. The Flyers fall to 17-14-4 on the season and finish the month of March with a record of 6-11. For a team that has lost 9-0 and 8-3 in the past 2 weeks, this feels like the lowest point for a team that has to take a long look at themselves in the mirror before their last 21 games of the season.
The game started with a shot from Sean Couturier that ringed off the post seconds after the puck dropped, but that was about it from the Flyers in the first. The Sabres netted their first goal 9:32 into the first when a shot from Sam Reinhart deflected off of Justin Braun and past Brian Elliott. The Sabres kept the momentum and pressure going in the first which lead to a goal from Curtis Lazar that beat Elliott five hole and doubled the Sabres lead. The second Sabres goal came just 2 minutes and 27 seconds after their first, taking all the momentum into the end of the period and into the intermission. The Flyers were in search of some life going into the intermission.
The Flyers came out of the locker room flying, looking like a rejuvenated team, and quickly had 11 shots on goal while the Sabres had 0. An early power play in the period got the offense going despite not scoring a goal. Quickly after the power play, Ivan Provorov scored with a shot from the point that deflected off of a Sabres defenseman on its way past Ullmark, who had 31 saves in the game. Sean Couturier and Jakub Voracek had the assists on the Provorov goal. All the momentum the Flyers had gained in the second period was halted when Steven Fogarty scored his first career NHL goal halfway through the second period. The Sabres then carried that momentum and eventually scored again with 4:21 left in the period off of a goal from Mittelstadt, which lead to goaltender Brian Elliott being replaced by Alex Lyon for the remainder of the game. Elliott had saved 12 of the 16 shots he had faced on the night. Lyon quickly made a couple of saves to keep the deficit at 4-1 going into the second intermission.
Entering the third period the Flyers looked to repeat their success from Monday and comeback from three goals in the third period, but the Sabres kept their pressure on. For the first half of the third period, neither team had great chances and both goaltenders made good saves on the decent chances both teams had. The Flyers got their third power play of the game with six minutes left, looking to cut the deficit down. After emptying the net for the extra attacker on the power play Brandon Montour launched a puck from his own zone into the empty net to extend the lead to 5-1 for the Sabres. Then 30 seconds later Montour scored again during the Flyers power play off a backhand to the top shelf past Lyon, Montour's second goal on the same penalty kill. The 2 short-handed goals for the Sabres made it the second time this season they had beaten the Flyers by a score of 6-1, and it was the most goals the Sabres had scored in a game since that 6-1 victory back in January.
Despite being outplayed and out-hustled by the Sabres, the Flyers were able to outshoot the Sabres 32-27 but lacked great goal-scoring chances to bring them back into the game. The Flyers stay in 5th in the East division, 3 points the Boston Bruins, but with time starting to run out on the Flyers, and a tough schedule ahead, they will have to turnaround fast if they want any chance at making the playoffs. The Flyers head to the Islanders (22-10-4) next Saturday to try and turn the tides on a season that is starting to slip away fast.