The Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Buffalo Sabres, 4-0, at the KeyBank Center on Monday evening. The Flyers’ first shutout win of the 2022-23 season came at the expense of the NHL’s highest-scoring team. A three-goal outburst in the first period led the way for the Flyers.Philly got goals from three different lines.
The Flyers have reached the statistical midpoint of the 2022-23 season. The team is 16-18-7 at the midway mark.
After the disappointment of Sunday’s 6-2 shellacking on home ice at the hands of Toronto, the Flyers could hardly have scripted a better response on Monday in Buffalo.
For the first time all season, the Flyers scored three times in the first period. In a dominating opening stanza, tallies by Zack MacEwen (4th), Joel Farabee (9th) and Noah Cates (5th) built a 3-0 lead. Travis Konecny earned two assists in the period, and Farabee chipped in an assist as well as his goal.
The second period was scoreless. The Flyers had early control but the Sabres started to take over the game with ever-increasing volume and danger of chances.
Early in the third period, the Flyers made it 4-0. Wade Allison (5th) scored on a set play off an offensive zone faceoff.
Samuel Ersson, in his fifth career NHL start, faced and stopped 28 shots on goal to improve to 4-0-0. He was especially strong in the second period. Veteran Craig Anderson, with 34 saves on 38 shots, took the loss for Buffalo.
The Flyers went 0-for-3 on the power play. The Sabres went 0-for-1 and did not have a power play opportunity until late in the game.
Flyers left winger James van Riemsdyk dressed in his 900th career NHL regular season game. He had one scoring chance on a power play deflection in 15:16 of ice time.
FLYERS STARTING LINEUP
86 Joel Farabee – 49 Noah Cates – 11 Travis Konecny
25 James van Riemsdyk – 48 Morgan Frost – 74 Owen Tippett
13 Kevin Hayes – 21 Scott Laughton – 57 Wade Allison
44 Nicolas Deslauriers – 38 Patrick Brown – 17 Zack MacEwen
9 Ivan Provorov – 45 Cam York
6 Travis Sanheim – 77 Tony DeAngelo
24 Nick Seeler – 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
33 Samuel Ersson
[79 Carter Hart]
Philly got off to a fast start, establishing their forecheck right from the get-go. Receiving a goal from the fourth line (for the second straight game) got Philly off and running. They never looked back.
1) The Flyers had the game’s first scoring chance, and the first goal. For the second straight game. Philly’s fourth line chipped in a goal. Brown dug out a puck behind the net and centered it. MacEwen won the battle in front and jammed it past Anderson to end a 27-game goalless drought. Deslauriers drew a secondary assist at 2:04.
The Flyers had the game’s first three shots on goal. Sanheim took an icing at 4:25. Laughton won the ensuing faceoff. Allison made a good play up ice and Hayes had a chance from the left slot. At 5:56, Cates kept a play going and later poked the puck on net. Shots were now 6-0 Flyers.
The Flyers got the game’s first power play at 6:04. Peyton Krebs grabbed hold of Laughton behind the Flyers’ net. The Flyers coughed up a 2-on-1, and Dylan Cozens fired a shot that Ersson got his glove on. As the penalty expired, York was blocked on a point shot attempt. Exiting the penalty box, Krebs raced off on a breakaway. Ersson made the save and then stopped Zemgus Girgensons in close on the same shift.
Tippett put on a burst of speed on a chip-and-chase play and fired a sharp angle shot on net. The Sabres’ Thompson had a bang-bang chance off a faceoff at 11:44. Ersson reacted fast to make the stop. With 6:40 remaining, Catews was denied in close.
At 13:31, after the puck hopped and bounced around the neutral zone, Farabee jumped on it after it squibbed past a defenseman. From the right circle above the hash marks, he fired off a quick shot that beat Anderson low to the blocker side to give Philly a 2-0 lead. Sanheim and Konecny earned the assists. Konecny extended his point streak to nine straight games.
Cates’ relentless forechecking work created an eventual turnover and scoring chance for Konecny. Cates then potted the rebound at 14:57. Farabee received a secondary assist.
Ristolainen stripped a Sabre of the puck in the defensive zone and took off with it up the ice. He made a backhanded feed to Tippett, who had an open look from the slot. Tippett fired the puck over the net. With about two minutes left in the period, Konecny had a scoring chance but was denied from hash marks. With 1:17 left in the period, Hayes nearly scored on a sharp angle shot. A scramble ensued. The puck eventually crossed the line but it was waved off immediately.
2) Ersson only faced five shots on goal in the first period (16-5 shot on goal edge for the Flyers, 27-9 shot attempt edge) but four of them were testers. At the other end of the ice, Anderson was under siege. Buffalo struggled mightily to handle the Flyers’ forechecking and often ended up on the wrong side of the puck. Scoring chances were 15-7 Flyers with a 9-2 high-danger chance advantage. The Sabres were charged with three giveaways — all in dangerous areas — and the Flyers were officially credited with two takeaways but could have earned credit for a couple more. All in all, it was a stellar first period for Philadelphia, and Ersson took care of the rest for the opening frame.
3) Just 11 seconds into the second period, Konecny faked a shot and dropped a pass to Farabee. Anderson made the save. There were some nervous moments after a Tippett miscue but Ersson stepped up. The second unit resumed the pressure. Stepping onto the ice for a line change.Frost had a wide open lane through the middle, he was hooked by Mattias Samuelsson at 57 seconds.
This time, the Flyers generated crisp power play puck movement, culminating in Frost putting the puck at the net and JVR tipping it from the doorstep. Anderson made the stop. The second unit also pressured but were unable to extend the lead.
The Flyers got caught on a line change but York hustled over to break up Tyson Jost. A few shifts later, Jost had three scoring chances on the same shift. The Frost line got caught out on an ultra long shift, and DeAngelo was out on the ice for three minutes.
Ersson stepped up again at 12:40, moving across to rob Alex Tuch after Konecny and others got caught on the wrong side of the puck. Shortly thereafter, Casey Mittelstadt had a chance at the doorstep. Second period shots were now 10-8 Sabres after Philly had the early edge.
The Sabres continued to hem the Flyers in their own end. With 3:18 left in the second period, an Olofsson shot was snapped out of the air by Ersson’s glove. A developing dangerous rush for the Sabres ended with Jost going offside. At the other end, Ristolainen made a good play joining the attack.
A Hayes giveaway led to a few anxious moments. Cates took a puck away from Thompson to end a threat at the end of the shift.
4) The second period ended with shots tied at 13-13 but there were about eight minutes in between a strong Flyers start and a fairly even finish to the period where Buffalo completely took over the play. Ersson came up huge during this portion of the period. Shot attempts were 24-20 Flyers. Scoring chances were 9-7 Sabres with a 6-4 high danger edge to Buffalo. In this period, the Flyers were guilty of some over-passing; passing open looks to make extra plays that went awry. Of note on the positive side, Frost made two strong backchecking plays and also helped out Ersson near the net by swatting an aerial puck away from the slot.
5) The Flyers lost the opening faceoff of the third period and then Cates took an icing at the 20-second mark. The Sabres controlled and Jeff Skinner hit the post.
One minute into the period, Sanheim broke up a pass attempt and got it out of the zone to allow for a line change.
At 1:51, the Sabres iced the puck. Laughton won the left circle faceoff and the Flyer worked a set play with Allison going immediately to the net. Hayes put the pass right to him and Allison scored from the doorstep at 1:56.
Ersson was sharp in stopping a pick that Sanheim accidentally deflected on his own net and then a Thompson followup attempt.
Konecny sprung Farabee on a breakaway with a bank pass. Anderson made the save by a slashing penalty on Kale Clague was called at 7:24. The Flyers sent out two defensemen on the power play on both units With PP2 out, Tipppett whipped a shot on net from the left circle.
The teams traded off several icings. With 6:59 left, Ersson made a shoulder save on Jost.
An after-the-whistle scrum broke loose at the Flyers’ net with 6:30 on the clock. Dahlin, Konecny and Sanheim drew roughing penalties, giving the Sabres their first power play of the game.
Provorov won a battle and cleared the puck down the ice early in the kill. Laughton disrupted a rush and forced Buffalo offside 25 seconds into the PK. Brown won the next draw and the Flyers cleared. Finally, Buffalo got set up. Seeler was stung by the puck on a Cozens shot, hobbled but remained out on the ice. The Flyers completed a strong kill. Back at 5-on-5, Ersson made a save on Jacob Bryson from the top of the left circle.
All things considered, the Flyers staged an excellent closeout in the third period after Ersson was tested often in the middle stanza. Third period shots were 10-9 Buffalo (17-13 Sabres in shot attempts). Scoring chances were 9-4 Sabres but, importantly, high danger chances were 3-3 and Philly put the only one scored in the period in the cash register.