James van Riemsdyk – Sean Couturier – Joel Farabee
Scott Laughton – Kevin Hayes – Travis Konecny
Oskar Lindblom – Claude Giroux – Jakub Voracek
Erik Gustafsson – Nolan Patrick – Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Ivan Provorov – Philippe Myers
Travis Sanheim – Justin Braun
Robert Hägg – Shayne Gostisbehere
Carter Hart – Brian Elliott
Connor Bunnaman, Nate Prosser, Andy Andreoff, Carsen Twarynski
Morgan Frost (dislocated shoulder), Michael Raffl (hand)
The Flyers have dropped three of their last four games, and after back-to-back losses this weekend to the Penguins and the Capitals, they looked to a home game on Tuesday night against a struggling Buffalo Sabres team to right the ship.
Michael Raffl continued to be absent from the lineup, with Alain Vigneault telling media that he’s suffering from a hand injury and doesn’t currently have a timeline to return. During warmups it became apparent that the Vigneault would choose to ice seven defensemen on this night, allowing Erik Gustafsson to draw back into the lineup while making Connor Bunnaman a healthy scratch.
Things got off to a rousing start when James van Riemsdyk scored his 11th goal of the season. It all started with a tremendous defensive play by Travis Sanheim at the blue line to keep the puck in the zone. After that, Sean Couturier and Joel Farabee completed a pretty passing sequence to get the puck to van Riemsdyk who made no mistake firing it past Jonas Johansson.
A scary moment passed on the subsequent center ice faceoff when Scott Laughton was upended by Curtis Lazar and landed sideways on his neck. He immediately went down the tunnel, after slowly getting back to his feet, and did eventually return to the game. But the play looked dangerous, and the Flyers bench was very vocal in questioning why no penalty was called on the play.
Things went quickly downhill from there. Two minutes later, Sam Reinhart tied the game when he was left all alone in the circle and he sniped the puck top shelf over Carter Hart. Then Riley Sheahan added another one for Buffalo when a sloppy Flyers defense allowed him to set up a quick backhander uncontested in the slot. Finally, Reinhart scored again before the end of the period with a snipe from out in front.
Vigneault switched up his goaltenders to start the second period, with Brian Elliott in the crease. About three minutes later, Kevin Hayes pulled the Flyers to within a goal after Laughton skated around a defender, passing the puck through his own skates. He then dished it cross-crease to Hayes who put the puck over the goal line.
The celebration didn’t last long, however, when the Sabres scored again. This time it was Brandon Montour with a sharp-angled shot that went top shelf on Elliott. The teams traded power plays for a bit through the middle of the period, but neither team could convert on the man advantage.
Claude Giroux scored his fourth goal of the season just seconds after one of the Philadelphia power plays expired when Jakub Voracek passed him the puck on the doorstep and the captain fired the puck past Johansson.
Defense for the Flyers continued to look loose and sloppy, with way too much wide open ice. They needed to come out with a tightly played third period if they had a hope to even the score and go after the two points on the line.
To an extent, that is what the Flyers did but the offense just couldn’t find their finish. They were getting their chances, but nothing was going in, or they were finding iron.
The power play found some life when Couturier dished the puck up the boards to Shayne Gostisbehere at the point, who blasted a shot that went bar down to tie the game.
Overtime was exhausting to watch, with lots of puck possession and guys overstaying their shifts, but both goalies stood tall including when Johansson absolutely robbed Couturier on a breakaway attempt.
Then the Selke winner came up big in the shootout, along with Nolan Patrick, to complete the comeback for the Flyers and take two points out of this game. Elliott stopped both Buffalo attempts in the skills competition.
It was a much-needed win for Philadelphia, and they’ll need to build on that this week as they get ready to host the Washington Capitals for two games at the Wells Fargo Center.
Plus / Minus
▲ Sean Couturier, Scott Laughton, Joel Farabee
▼ Justin Braun, Carter Hart