Playing a second game within 24 hours is never easy, especially when the second team is the worst team in the Eastern Conference who could be hard to “get up” for. The Philadelphia Flyers were able to fight through a sluggish start and provide just enough offense to earn a 4-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday.
The energetic Flyers team we saw on Saturday failed to show up on Sunday. The team took two minutes before the game was even four minutes old, but were able to kill them off thanks in part to a huge glove save by Michal Neuvirth. The Sabres held a 12-5 advantage in shots after the scoreless first period.
Ryan O’Reilly got the Sabres on the board with a power play goal at 1:50 of the second period. Jack Eichel made a drop pass to O’Reilly at the left dot where he blasted a one-timer top shelf past Neuvirth.
The Sabres goal seemed to serve as a wakeup call for the Flyers as Shayne Gostisbehere responded to tie the game less than two minutes later. With the fourth line on the ice, Gostisbehere caused a turnover in the neutral zone then had the puck waiting for him at the left circle where he fired a laser of a shot that beat Robin Lehner to the glove side. Scott Laughton and Jori Lehtera had the assists on Gostisbehere’s ninth goal on the year.
Sean Couturier gave the Flyers a 2-1 lead with a power play tally at the 7:17 mark. Claude Giroux skated the puck behind the net then found Couturier at the left dot where he put a quick one-timer past Lehner. Jakub Voracek picked up his NHL leading 42nd assist on Couturier’s team leading 22nd goal.
Wayne Simmonds came very close to making it 3-1 late in the second period, but Lehner got just enough to the shot with his outstretched arm to force over the top of the crossbar.
The third period was less than exciting, but the fans at the Wells Fargo Center got to get out of their seats and cheer Couturier’s empty net goal with just over a minute remaining in the game. Ivan Provorov added a second empty net tally about a half minute later to ice the game.
The Flyers are now 3-1-0 in 2018 counting their clunker versus the Pittsburgh Penguins and take a three-game winning streak into the bye week. The Flyers will be off until Saturday when they travel up the road to the New Jersey Devils.