Sabres Break Hart
The Buffalo Sabres made it look easy on Monday night with a 6-1 victory over the previously undefeated Philadelphia Flyers. The normally reliable Flyers goaltender Carter Hart was yanked from the game in the second period after Buffalo's Curtis Lazar scored his second of the night to make it a 4-0 game.
The contest would come to a close while the score was 6-1 and the Buffalo Sabres could breathe again. After dropping their first two games, both to the Washington Capitols, the Sabres found their game. The defense played as good as they've played in any game over the last two seasons. Most impressive was their play in front of the net. They battled, not just guarded, but physically battled every Philly player that tried to plant there. I'd name their names but frankly it was all of them and they should be proud of their effort.
Sabres as a whole played well in all three zones on Monday. It was a continuation of the second Washington game but this time they got the bounces. Buffalo also got some high level scoring from Reinhart(2), Lazar(2) and Olofsson(1). Precision shooting after receiving crisp passes showed what the 2021 Sabres are capable of.
Some of the statistical highlights include:
Carter Hutton saves 21 of 22 shots
Reinhart leads the Sabres with 6 shots on net followed by Skinner and Montour each with 5
Both Hall and Eichel earn 3 assists on the night
Sabres pepper opposing goalies with 37 shots
Hutton holds the Flyers to no goals until only 2:05 was left in the game
Buffalo had only one penalty called against them
Buffalo scored on 2 out of 3 power play opportunities
Linus Ullmark did not dress for the game due to personal reasons. When asked about this in his postgame interview, coach Ralph Krueger responded by saying, "It's gonna be up to Linus when he wants to speak but, uh, at the moment there is a private matter where we're gonna let him have a good sleep tonight." This is very concerning. I don't like the language the coach is using. He's calling this a private matter that the player, who apparently needs sleep, will decide when to speak. Covid? That's how it sounds, right? It really could be anything but in today's world, covid is at the forefront of cryptic statements like this. Let's just hope it's something else.
Even though he did not get any points in the game, number 24 Dylan Cozens looked like he belongs. His energy is contagious. He is fearless. Best part, he is hella fun to watch. If his development continues, I could see him permanently overtaking second line center duties as soon as next season.
With all the praise earned by the Sabres on Monday, it is worth mentioning that Philadelphia looked sluggish. No one wants to take away from Buffalo's victory but it shouldn't be ignored that the Flyers weren't doing much flying. They were barely even skating. This might have been a function of Buffalo's play but it's more likely that they were still spent from the games in Pittsburgh. Either way, every team is going to have to deal with this new type of schedule. Better get used to it.
Philly get's another crack at the Sabres tonight inside the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia starting at 7:00pm.