Late-Game Collapse Hands Flyers Another Loss to Buffalo
For the second straight day, a third-period goal put the Flyers in the driver's seat with the potential for two more points in the standings. The Flyers were closing in on it too, down to the final four minutes of play. That's when two quick mistakes dashed all that.
The Sabres tied the game with 3:03 left after an icing by the Flyers, then scored again with 2:38 to play to take the lead away from the Flyers in a matter of 25 seconds. Buffalo also managed the empty-netter to secure the 5-3 result on Sunday afternoon at Wells Fargo Center.
For most of the first 10 minutes of play, neither team got a definitive edge, though the Flyers were opening up a lead in shots.
At 11:36, the Flyers opened things up by getting a bounce. Shayne Gostisbehere put a shot toward the net off a rush and it hit the skates of Oskar Lindblom. The puck went into the crease and pinballed around off Linus Ullmark's pads and eventually his skate and in, giving the Flyers a 1-0 lead.
Shortly after, the Flyers got a power play and took advantage in the final seconds. Sean Couturier was able to corral a bouncing puck and get it to the net. Joel Farabee was there and took a shot that hit the post and sat behind Ullmark. Farabee found it and put home the rebound, making it 2-0.
The Flyers killed off their second penalty of the game in the late stages of the period, taking a 2-0 lead to the intermission. Through 20 minutes, shots were 15-6 Flyers.
Early in the second, the Sabres made their push and managed to tie the game up within 46 seconds. First, Jeff Skinner set up Sam Reinhart for a goal off a set play off a face-off at 3:56, getting Buffalo on the board.
Then a turnover by Scott Laughton allowed the Sabres to maintain possession in the offensive zone. Dylan Cozens took control and set up a one-timer for Arttu Ruotsalainen, who scored for his first NHL goal at 4:42.
The Flyers had several near-misses from there, getting three looks with the net empty. Nicolas Aube-Kubel missed wide on one and Couturier hit the post on another attempt.
Through two periods, the game remained tied and the Flyers had a 27-20 lead in shots.
Less than five minutes into the third, the Flyers responded by getting the lead back. Some hard work by Farabee along the boards allowed him to gain control of the puck and center for Gostisbehere, who beat Ullmark five-hole to put the Flyers back in front at 3:47.
The Flyers continued to generate chances from there, and even the physicality picked up with a mid-period scrum that featured Carter Hart briefly getting involved and Ullmark skating out to center ice.
But late in the game, the Sabres took advantage of miscues to put an end to this one. Off an icing call, the Sabres won an offensive-zone face-off and got the tying goal as a shot by Victor Olofsson leaked through Hart and Skinner was able to put it home off his skate as he was pushed into the net by Claude Giroux, evening things at three with 3:03 to play.
Just 25 seconds later, the Sabres had the lead as a point shot by Jacob Bryson left a rebound for a wide open Rasmus Asplund to put it home, making it 4-3 with 2:38 to play.
In the final minute, the Flyers could not get the opportunity they needed to tie it back up and Buffalo iced the game into an empty net on a goal by Casey Mittelstadt.
Hart finished the game with 26 saves on 30 shots. Ullmark made 40 saves on 43 shots in the win.
Gostisbehere and Farabee each had a goal and an assist. Skinner had a goal and an assist. Bryson also had a pair of assists.
The Flyers next game will be on Tuesday night against the Washington Capitals at 7 p.m.
- PHI Oskar Lindblom (6) (Shayne Gostisbehere, Nicolas Aube-Kubel) 11:36
- PHI Joel Farabee (15) PP (Nolan Patrick, Sean Couturier) 14:14
- BUF Sam Reinhart (14) (Jeff Skinner) 3:56
- BUF Arttu Ruotsalainen (1) (Dylan Cozens) 4:42
- PHI Gostisbehere (8) (Farabee, Phil Myers) 3:47
- BUF Skinner (5) (Victor Olofsson, Jacob Bryson) 16:57
- BUF Rasmus Asplund (5) (Bryson) 17:22
- BUF Casey Mittelstadt (6) EN (Kyle Okposo, Riley Sheahan) 19:36
Kevin Durso is Flyers insider for 97.3 ESPN and Flyers editor for SportsTalkPhilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.
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