Sunday, January 20, 2013

Buffalo Hands Flyers Second Straight Loss to Start Season

Vanek scoring 1 of his career high 5 points
The Philadelphia Flyers fell to the Buffalo Sabres this afternoon 5-2. Special teams played a huge role in this contest as it did yesterday. Philadelphia allowed 3 PowerPlay goals today against Buffalo and 2 yesterday vs Pittsburgh. The Flyers held a 2-1 lead in the 2nd period, but the Sabres scored 4 unanswered goals, 3 of which came in the 3rd period.

Buffalo struck first on their first PowerPlay of the game when Jason Pomminville set up Steve Ott in the high slot giving the Sabres a 1-0 lead.

The Flyers appeared to tie the game after Ruslan Fedotenko put the puck behind Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller; however, the official called goalie interference on Fedotenko waiving it off immediately. Both teams appeared surprised as Fedotenko barely grazed Miller on the play, but regardless the Sabres took their 1 goal lead into the 2nd period.

After being outshot 13-7 in the 1st period, the Flyers finally found their edge.

Couturier scores his first goal of the season
In the first 5 minutes of the 2nd, Philadelphia played their best hockey, outshooting the Sabres 5-0, while scoring 2 goals in the process.

Sean Couturier got the Flyers on the board by deflecting Kurtis Foster's shot from the point past Miller to tie the game. Foster's assist was his first point as a Flyer.

Less than 3 minutes later the Flyers struck again. This time it was their turn on the PowerPlay. Claude Giroux blasted a one-timer from the top of the circle cleanly beating Miller over his left shoulder giving the Flyers their first lead of the game and of the season.

Giroux scored his 2nd goal in as many games
But then Philadelphia got into penalty trouble again. They were called for 'too many men on the ice' and then during the penalty Luke Schenn was called for hooking putting the Flyers down 2 men. They killed off the first penalty, which was being served by Scott Laughton, but when he left the box there was confusion as to where he was supposed to go and Pomminville took full advantage by making a long outlet pass to Drew Stafford who then made a touch pass to Thomas Vanek behind the defense sending him in all alone against Ilya Bryzgalov. Vanek beat Bryzgalov tying the contest at 2.

The game remained tied going into the 3rd period and both teams played fairly even hockey until Luke Schenn took another penalty with only 6 minutes left. And Buffalo made them pay again. Tyler Ennis took an innocent wrist shot from the point which deflected off Kimmo Timonen's skate into the back of the cage putting Buffalo on top once again.

A little over a minute later, Buffalo added to their lead. Thomas Vanek went in all alone on Bryzgalov again, but this time Ilya made the save; however, Cody Hodgson was there to bury the rebound.

Sabres score the go-ahead goal
The Flyers' last chance to get back into the game was squandered when Wayne Simmonds scored with over a minute remaining, but once again the referee called 'no goal' because he lost sight of the puck and blew the whistle, just prior to the puck crossing the line. So the score remained 4-2.

Thomas Vanek added his 2nd goal of the game and 5th point by tacking on a empty net goal with 48 seconds remaining.

This afternoon was Buffalo's first game of the season while it was the Flyers second game in less than 24 hours. Losses are never blamed on excuses but the Flyers were definitely the more tired hockey team in the 3rd period, thus leading to poor penalties and lack of scoring chances. Philadelphia was outshot 8-3 and outscored 2-0 in the final 10 minutes of the game. Buffalo just had more jump in their step as they outshot the Flyers 41-29, had more hits, and less penalty minutes, leading to their first victory of the season and leaving the Flyers to go home 0-2. 

Game Notes:
  • It is the first time the Flyers started the season 0-2 since 2008.
  • Zac Rinaldo left the game in the 1st period with a leg laceration. He was cut by a skate above the knee and required 20 stitches to patch up. His availability for Tuesday is unknown
  • Buffalo went 3 for 6 on their PowerPlay, while the Flyers went 1 for 5.
  • Thomas Vanek scored a career high 5 points (2 goals and 3 assists) today.
  • Vanek and Cody Hodgson accounted for 16 shots.
  • Claude Giroux had 1 goal, 3 shots and won 57.7% of his faceoffs in 24:13 minutes.
  • Today was Philadelphia's first loss in Buffalo since December 21st 2007. 
  • Scott Hartnell had the first fight of the Flyers season squaring off with Drew Stafford. Hartnell threw and landed more punches but Stafford ended up on top of Scotty at the end of the fight.

CLICK HERE for today's game highlights

Drop the Puck:
The Flyers will get the day off tomorrow from games and practice and will get back in action on Tuesday night against last season's Conference Champion New Jersey Devils.

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