Flyers-Sabres: Postgame Review
It took a late-game, frantic comeback for the Flyers to get back into the win column on Saturday. On Tuesday, they picked up a win to move above a team in the standings and did it rather convincingly.
For a change, the Flyers got off to a quick start and never looked back, leading nearly wire to wire in a 5-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres that, for now, improved their playoff hopes slightly.
More in our Postgame Review.
- Ryan Hartman - It didn't take long for the newest Flyer to make an impact. Shortly after the first goal of the game, Ryan Hartman caught Rasmus Dahlin with his head down. The crushing hit knocked the rookie defenseman to the ice and drew a crowd that helped the Flyers get a power play.
Hartman didn't crack the scoresheet in his Flyers debut, but his value was felt early. His physical play was evident and he was a very solid two-way player, getting a few scoring chances and playing solid in his own zone.
If this is what can be expected of Hartman, a grinding mid-line forward with determination to make a play and work hard to do it, the Flyers are going to like having him around.
- Oskar Lindblom - Hartman's debut was impressive, but the Flyers best forward in the game was Oskar Lindblom.
Lindblom scored the first goal, but that wasn't the most impressive part of his game. He was relentless on the forecheck, displayed some strong penalty killing late in the game and the puck simply followed him most of the night.
Scott Gordon has used Lindblom effectively on the second line and in all situations for several weeks and Lindblom just continues to grow and excel in the role. He's been one of the Flyers most improved players down the stretch.
- Brian Elliott - For a second straight game, Brian Elliott was on his game. The Flyers only allowed six shots in the first period and one did find the net with Jack Eichel scoring on a perfect shot on the power play, but from there, Elliott saw a lot of rubber thrown his way and handled the job.
In the final two periods, Elliott faced 30 shots and finished the game with 34 saves as a whole. Over the last four appearances, including the two relief efforts last Tuesday and last Thursday, Elliott has allowed just eight goals.
For the Flyers to achieve any success and to make this run a real possibility, they need the goaltending. Carter Hart helped cut into the deficit quite a bit. Elliott has helped the Flyers get two wins against two teams they are chasing in the last two starts.
- Defensive Play - The game offers the usual ebbs and flows of pressure and possession, but for the most part, the Flyers got the play they wanted from their defensemen.
Travis Sanheim had a strong game, scoring a goal and carrying a bulk of the playing time. Ivan Provorov made several great plays in board battles and helping to keep Eichel, Jeff Skinner and Sam Reinhart at bay. Phil Myers had another strong game.
It feels like a lot of the younger defenseman are coming around at the right time. It also helped to have a presence like Radko Gudas back in the lineup.
- Closing the Gap - The win for the Flyers moved them to within six points of the final playoff spot, but more importantly moved them ahead of the Sabres in the standings. It's one less hurdle the team has to jump.
It also makes their next game that much more important. When the dust cleared from Tuesday's action, the Flyers trailed the Columbus Blue Jackets by five points. The Pittsburgh Penguins are holding the final playoff spot. The Flyers are in Columbus on Thursday with another four-point game in play.
Much like Tuesday night, the Flyers playoff hopes ride on the next game. That thought process worked well for the Flyers heading into Tuesday's game. Another quick start can set the Flyers in the right direction to another crucial victory.
By the Numbers
The Flyers dominated the first period with a 75 CF% at 5-on-5 and nine high-danger scoring chances. For the rest of the game, Buffalo evened the play, but the Flyers continued to have the more dangerous chances throughout.
Stat of the Game
Three of the Flyers goal scorers led the team in shots. Jake Voracek led the way with seven shots while James van Riemsdyk and Lindblom each had five. Three Flyers tied for the team lead in hits. Hartman, Myers and Gudas each had four.
Kevin Durso is Flyers insider for 97.3 ESPN and Flyers editor for SportsTalkPhilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.