The Sabres stifled the Flyers through the middle part of Friday’s game, building up a 31-14 shot advantage and 2-0 lead at the second intermission, and ended up with a 3-1 win at First Niagara Center. Jack Eichel opened the scoring in the final minute of the first period, and Ryan O’Reilly made it 2-0 on the power play 4:20 into the third. Nicolas Deslauriers made it 3-0 3:12 into the third before the Flyers increased their pressure and ended up outshooting the Sabres 14-5, including Mark Streit’s third goal of the year with 3:26 to play. The Flyers incurred 10 penalties for 31 minutes, including eight minors. They killed off five of six Buffalo power plays, including 1:06 of 5-on-3 time in the second period. Michal Neuvirth kept the score close with 33 saves on 36 shots, including 29 of 31 in the first two periods, while Linus Ullmark took the win with 27 saves in his first career game against the Flyers.
The turning point came on the third Sabres goal to put Buffalo up 3-0… With goaltender Michal Neuvirth keeping them in the game, allowing just two goals, including one on a Buffalo power-play, on 31 shots through the first two periods, the Flyers faced a two-goal deficit which could have eventually been reduced to one goal if it weren’t for Deslauriers goal early in the third period to give Buffalo a three-goal cushion with 17 minutes left to play… The Flyers received their only goal of the game from Mark Streit, and were awarded a power-play with under a minute to go, but the two-goal deficit was too much to overcome.
1ST - Ryan O’Reilly: He factored into all three Sabres goals on the night with a goal and two assists, both of which were primary assists. He now has a five game point streak and 13 points (4g-9a) in 11 games to lead Buffalo.
2ND - Jack Eichel: The 18-year-old scored his fourth goal of the season in his 11th game… He broke a scoreless tie with 36 seconds left in the first period to give the Sabres a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes.
3RD - Nicolas Deslauriers: Recorded the third Sabres goal and was a +1 on the night.
Michal Neuvirth made 33 saves and now has a 1.91 GAA and a .939 save percentage this season… The Sabres had a total of 76 shots on goal over the two games against the Flyers this week – 40 on Tuesday night and 36 tonight… Buffalo is atop of the NHL’s shooting stats with 33.8 shots per game, while the Flyers are second at 33.5 shots per game, but they’ve also allowed 33.3 shots per game, which is the second-most average shots against in the NHL… Jake Voracek had four shots on goal and now has 20 in the last four games. He has 44 total on the season, which is the second-most in the league… Mark Streit scored his third goal of the year - He had nine goals in 81 games last year and 10 goals in 82 games the year before that.
“The effort is there, but a few things are creeping into our game, mistakes. I feel like we have a whole lot of unnecessary turnovers. Instead of us getting in on the forecheck, the other team gets in on the forecheck. I thing discipline is an issue too. We just take too many penalties and it costs a lot of momentum and a lot of energy for the guys killing. You can’t win any hockey games like that.” (Mark Streit)
“[Neuvirth] did a great job. When you look through those middle penalty kills, the 5-on-3, the effort level, that’s a lot of will. Those are positive things. You’ve got to really stay strong and you’ve got to stay together when you go through times like this.” (Head Coach Dave Hakstol)
“A lot of penalties tonight, and when you take a lot of penalties, that kills your bench, and some guys sit on the bench a little too long. I’m not sure how many power plays they got, but it’s too many. Third period we kind of picked it up a little bit, but it was too late.” (Claude Giroux)