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Postgame 5: Moose Blanks Buffalo

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One night after getting embarrassed at the hands of the Buffalo Sabres, the Philadelphia Flyers defeated Buffalo by a 3-0 score in a return match at the Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday. By leaps and bounds, this was a better performance from the Flyers than Monday’s game.

Travis Konecny (4th goal of the season) broke a scoreless deadlock on a breakaway late in the second period. Jakub Voracek (1st) added some insurance on a 2-on-1 goal in the latter half of the third period, and Kevin Hayes (2nd) tacked on an empty net goal.

Brian Elliott came up big in net whenever the Flyers needed him, including during an early-game two-man disadvantage to earn a 40-save shutout.

Carter Hutton had to leave after the second period. He stopped 20 of 21 shots while he was in net. Jonas Johansson finished up the game. Johansson made eight saves on nine shots.

TURNING POINT

The Flyers played a defensively sound first period. In the second period, they started to buzz offensively. At 17:51, Konecny snapped the scoreless deadlock. Patrick made an initial play in the defensive zone, and Konecny turned on the speed to catch up to a a long bank pass by Lindblom. Soloing against Hutton, Konecny slid the puck through the five-hole on the backhand. 

Tweet from @NHLFlyers: eat up. #AnytimeAnywhere | #BUFvsPHI pic.twitter.com/7E2Pxid9yb

MELTZER’S TAKE 

1) Alain Vigneault started the game with changes on three of the four forward lines at five-on-five and all three defensive pairs compared to the combinations that started the game on Monday. The same D pairs were featured in the third period on Monday but all but the fourth forward line had a different look. Also both power play units were changed up.

86 Joel Farabee – 13 Kevin Hayes – 93 Jakub Voracek
23 Oskar Lindblom – 19 Nolan Patrick – 11 Travis Konecny
25 James van Riemsdyk – 48 Morgan Frost – 28 Claude Giroux
12 Michael Raffl – 21 Scott Laughton – 62 Nicolas Aube-Kubel

9 Ivan Provorov – 6 Travis Sanheim
56 Erik Gustafsson – 5 Phi Myers
8 Robert Hägg – 61 Justin Braun

2) The first period was better than any of the three periods the Flyers played on Monday. They defended better, were much more physical and were a little cleaner with the puck. There weren’t many high-grade scoring chances, but it was an overall improvement. Killing off an early 5-on-3 disadvantage was a boost, including a big save by Elliott off a snap shot by Taylor Hall at the left hash marks. Later, Elliott made back-to-back strong saves on Rasmus Asplund and Jeff Skinner to keep the game scoreless. First period shots were 11-11. The Flyers blocked six shots (including a possible goal-saver by Provorov) and outhit the Sabres by an 11-3 margin.

Tweet from @NHLFlyers: MOOOOOOOOOSE. #AnytimeAnywhere | #BUFvsPHI pic.twitter.com/fBTwwkPxw0

3) Myers did not return for the second period as a result of a routine hit in the 1st by Jake McCabe (on a play that looked similar to the one on which Sean Couturier was injured in the second game of the season),. The Flyers had a very strong first 10 minutes of the second period, both offensively and defensively. Most notably, a give-and-go play with Frost and Braun produced a rebound that van Riemsdyk wasn’t able to pot.

Tweet from @NHLFlyers: so. close. #AnytimeAnywhere | #BUFvsPHI pic.twitter.com/ZoEfKLYRnT

4) The Sabres began to assert themselves over the middle stages of the period. Olofsson hit a hit. The Flyers got through their third PK of the game, but the Sabres continued to push after its expiration. About three-quarters of the way through the period, Frost (who was having a strong game and creating chances) took a hit behind the Sabres net and went off in a lot of pain with an apparent upper-body injury. 

At 17:51 of the second period, Konecny snapped the scoreless deadlock. Patrick made an initial play in the defensive zone, and Konecny turned on the speed to catch up to a a long bank pass by Lindblom. Soloing against Hutton, Konecny slid the puck through the five-hole on the backhand. 

5) The Flyers took 1:59 of carryover power play time into the third period after Laughton goaded Ristolainen into a penalty just before the horn. Philly was unable to capitalize. The Flyers continued to check well after the power play, and had the better of the overall play through the first six-plus minutes of the stanza. Inevitably, the Sabres then began to make a push, and the Flyers took several icings in the span of a few minutes. 

Finally, at 13:43, Gustafsson sprang Hayes and Voracek on a 2-on-1. Voracek received the cross-ice pass and beat Johansson to the short side before the goalie could quite close up the angle. Hayes added a late-game, long distance empty netter to seal the victory. Fifteen third-period saves by Elliott helped make it all possible.

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