Despite numerous chances, Sabres unable to halt Flyers win streak
Kahun scores in road loss to Philadelphiaby Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak / Sabres.com
PHILADELPHIA - The Buffalo Sabres put 39 shots on net, but they could only beat Carter Hart once Saturday night.
The Sabres entered the third period tied, however, they ultimately fell to the Philadelphia Flyers 3-1 at Wells Fargo Center as the Flyers extended their win streak to nine games.
Dominik Kahun scored Buffalo's lone goal for his fourth point in the last five games. He has two goals and two assists since he was acquired by the Sabres at the NHL Trade Deadline. Claude Giroux scored twice for the Flyers and Joel Farabee added another late in the third. Carter Hutton made 21 saves for the Sabres.
Buffalo's power play went 0-for-4 on the night, and they had three opportunities in the third period alone. The Sabres have now lost six games in a row.
"Our power play has got to be a lot better. That's where we're losing a lot of these games," forward Victor Olofsson said. "We're don't score on the power play and I feel like the other team does. It's a big part in this league so we've got to get better there and, of course, 5-on-5 as well. We've got to keep taking pucks to the net."
Video: BUF Recap: Kahun scores lone goal in 3-1 loss
Jeff Skinner led the team with nine shot attempts, including six that ended up on net. He was back on a line with Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart, and saw power-play time with them, Olofsson and Rasmus Ristolainen, as well. Buffalo ended up with seven shots on their four power plays.
"Any time it's going like that, it's not fun. You want to win games," Skinner said. "We're getting opportunities, we're just not finding ways to bury them, and then the other team is. That's been the difference in most of the games lately."
Sabres coach Ralph Krueger liked the way his new combinations spent time in the offensive zone and limited chances from the Flyers.
"I did like the feel of the team today. After two periods, you'd say, 'Well, we really put ourselves in a position to break their winning streak,' but they're on a roll," Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said. "They're playing excellent hockey, very confident team. They didn't need much and compliment to them that they kept their streak alive tonight because we were very close to biting that off."
The Flyers took the lead with 9:56 to play in the second period when Giroux picked up a loose puck in front and slipped a backhand shot into the back of the net.
The Sabres tied it thanks to Kahun's goal, but the Flyers scored twice in the third to pull away. First, Giroux one-timed a puck from the slot that unfortunately bounced off the stick of Jake McCabe 9:28 into the final frame for what turned out to be the game-winning goal.
Then with 5:11 remaining, Farabee took advantage of a broken play to give the Flyers a 3-1 lead. Ristolainen, with Farabee on the forecheck, went to pass the puck back to Hutton to reset the play. Hutton, after receiving the pass, tried to send it back behind the net for Ristolainen, but Farabee picked it off and was able to stuff the puck over the goal line.
"You just can't blame the game on that one. It was a bit of a broken play," Krueger said. "I think Risto thought there was a good play off of Hutts, who we trust so much, and the puck bounced on him a little bit and it happened. I can't be angry with anyone on that one. It's just one of those freaks that happens sometimes in the game.
"It was long before that where we needed to have that game tied up and locked up, and we would've had a different situation there."
Video: BUF@PHI: Kahun one-times Olofsson's feed past Hart
Kahun has played with Marcus Johansson, but on Saturday, Olofsson joined the line on the wing. They proved to be a formidable trio with the goal coming as the result of hard work from Johansson, a heady play from Olofsson, and a good finish from Kahun.
Down a goal with 5:11 left in the second period, Kahun tied the game on what ended up essentially being a tap in. The Sabres had kept the puck in the zone and Johansson circled behind the net with the puck, drawing two Flyers down low with him.
He then passed it out front to Olofsson, who faked a shot, freezing both Hart and defenseman Travis Sanheim, and sent the puck over to a wide-open Kahun.
Kahun said he's getting more comfortable and gaining confidence with each game. He liked a lot of the opportunities and the offensive zone time his line was able to generate.
"I think we're all kind of the same players. We make plays, we like to play with the puck. I think it was a good combination," he said. "It's unfortunate we couldn't win."
Olofsson was quick to credit Johansson for his effort when talking about the goal.
"Marcus did a really good job with the puck behind the net. He found me in the perfect space there in the middle and I just saw Dom on the far post," he said. "It was an easy play for me after JoJo's hard work."
Penalty kill success
Buffalo killed off back-to-back penalties midway through the first period, holding the Flyers to three shots on net. The Sabres generated two shots of their own while on the kill, including a slap shot by Johan Larsson and a subsequent rebound chance by Zemgus Girgensons, both of which, however, were stopped by Hart.
Entering the game, the Flyers had the best power play in the NHL since their win streak began on Feb. 18.
Buffalo killed off all three of their penalties, including a late one with 20.2 seconds remaining in regulation.
The Sabres will host the Washington Capitals on Monday and they'll look to build on some of the positives from the loss in Philadelphia.
"The retrievals were outstanding. It was like our 5-on-5 game, we won a lot of battles tonight. Just, that final push - our offensive players just are lacking confidence right now," Krueger said. "The mojo's not there where the pucks are bouncing in; they're bouncing out.
"We haven't earned the puck luck of late and again, so many things to take with for the Washington game, but we need to get some fruits from all this labor."
Faceoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. with the GMC Game Night pregame show starting at 6:30 p.m. on MSG. Tickets are on sale now.