Game Recap: Flyers vs. Buffalo Sabres

The Flyers lost their second in a row last night at HSBC Arena as they fell to the Buffalo Sabres in overtime by a score of 3-2.  The game didn’t showcase much flow, and there rarely was a back-and-forth sequence, but with that being said, the Flyers definitely had the better of play and deserved the game.  However, things very seldom work out as they should, and after dominating the overtime frame, a mental lapse defensively resulted in Tim Connolly burying a shot over Michael Leighton’s shoulder and giving the Sabres the two points from the contest.

Michael Leighton stops a Thomas Vanek offering in the first period

Everything wasn’t horrible in this one.  The Flyers still got a point out of the game, something that at this point of the season is ever so precious.  Some Flyers actually had particularly strong games as well, as I was at the game and VERY impressed by the play of Ville Leino, the winger who the Flyers acquired in the O-K Tollefsen trade with Detroit.  He may not be the best back-checker, and he’s not exactly sound defensively, but he certainly knows how to create opportunities in the offensive end, and worked remarkably well as a winger with Jeff Carter and Daniel Briere.  Speaking of Carter, I was impressed by his hustle throughout the game, as his #17 was evident at both ends of the rink – a nice change.  Of course, the game was once again highlighted by the play of Mike Richards.  The Flyers captain has come storming out of the gate since the Olympics break, and had a beautiful breakaway goal late in the third period to give the Flyers a 2-1 lead.  Michael Leighton was solid throughout, including an absolutely breath-taking sliding save on a Buffalo opportunity midway through the third that kept the game tied at the time.  However, defensive lapses will be the main thing remembered about last night’s contest in Western New York.

Michael Leighton and Chris Pronger had the old case of missed communication on a puck entering the Flyers’ zone, which Sabres sniper Thomas Vanek capitalized on, scoring a goal for the Sabres after bouncing an offering off Leighton’s back.  That tied the game at one and broke the Flyers’ momentum.  It’s safe to say that Laviolette won’t be happy with his team’s defensive lapses that – in retrospect – cost the team the game, and he’ll let them know that at practice today.

The Flyers have two games coming up against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday (7:00 PM EST) and the New York Islanders on Tuesday (7:00 EST).  Although both teams are not push-overs by any means, it will still be unacceptable if the Flyers don’t get the full four points from the two games.  Look for a Maple Leafs Game preview some time tomorrow.


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