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Flyers Exact Revenge Against Sabres, Ersson Makes 21 Saves in 5-1 Victory

(Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Philadelphia Flyers put an end to their 3-game losing streak with a 5-1 victory against the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night.

The Sabres left Philadelphia with the win on Wednesday even though they were outshot 40-15. Carter Hart got hurt, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen was sensational, and the Sabres found a way to get the 2 points.

On the back-half of their home-and-home series, the Flyers opened the scoring with 2 goals in the first 91 seconds of the game before Travis Konecny made it 3-0 before the end of the first period. Garnet Hathaway scored his 2nd goal of the season to give the Orange and Black an unassailable 4-0 lead with 20 minutes left.

Henri Jokiharju scored just 2:24 into the third to give Buffalo some hope but Bobby Brink dashed that feeling away with a breakaway finish with 8:32 left in the game for his 3rd of the season. Samuel Ersson bounced back by earning his first win of the season, Joel Farabee recorded 2 assists, and Travis Sanheim paced the club with 24:04 TOI.

The Flyers were a club searching for answers after having dropped 3 games in a row and 5 of their last 6. Their mini homestand came to a close on Wednesday night against this very same Sabres club that left the Wells Fargo Center with a 5-2 win. The Flyers have shown a lot of resiliency, fight, and determination, however they haven’t been able to buy many goals in their recent stretch of games. They fired 40 shots towards Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, including 20 in the third period but he had all the answers, while on the other side of the ice the Sabres scored 3 goals on just 4 third period shots.

The big news of course was Carter Hart leaving Wednesday’s game with a mid-body injury. He was ruled out for tonight’s game and has been designated as day-to-day, but Anthony SanFilippo tweeted out yesterday that it can range anywhere between 2-6 weeks.

Sean Couturier was also ruled out ahead of Friday’s game with a lower-body injury that the Flyers have said has nothing to do with his previous back ailments. With that being said, Noah Cates jumped up to the top line as he centered Cam Atkinson and Owen Tippett, Scott Laughton was centering Bobby Brink and Joel Farabee, Morgan Frost was in the middle of Travis Konecny and Tyson Foerster, and Ryan Poehling re-entered the lineup after being a healthy scratch for consecutive games and re-took his fourth role mantle.

As for the Sabres, they entered Friday with consecutive victories on the mantle for the first time this season and an unchanged lineup from Wednesday. Luukkonen returned in goal to close out the home and home, rookie Brandon Biro remained on the top line with Tage Thompson and Jordan Greenway, and the Flyers better have been on their toes and aware of the J.J. Peterka, Jeff Skinner, and Casey Mittelstadt line that torched them in the first period on Wednesday.


Similarly to last game, the Philadelphia Flyers got the game’s first goal very early-on as they transitioned from the neutral zone and ripped one past the glove of Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen just 1:03 into the game.

Scott Laughton scored his first of the season after being promoted to the second line with Sean Couturier out of the lineup and Noah Cates given the top line duties. Nick Seeler quickly dumped it forward to Laughton who one-touched it towards Joel Farabee – who seemingly has the magic touch with first goals as of late. He entered the zone with speed before dropping it off to Laughton who played a little give-and-go with Bobby Brink before firing it past the glove of a screened Luukkonen – with Farabee darting towards the net.

Louie Belpedio then doubled the lead 27 seconds later after jumping on a juicy rebound after a Sabres’ block to give the Flyers a 2-0 lead on their first 2 shots of the game.

From behind the net, Travis Konecny sent the puck down towards the point to Egor Zamula who whipped it towards his partner in Belpedio. The former Minnesota Wild defender quickly handed it off to Morgan Frost, whose shot was blocked but the puck jumped right back to Belpedio as he scored his first career goal into a wide open cage.

With 12:49 remaining in the first period, Alex Tuch was guilty of a tripping minor, sending the struggling power play unit onto the ice for a chance to take a 3-0 lead. They fired a few shots towards the goal but nothing overtly dangerous as they really struggled to enter the zone and set-up once they got in.

Then again with 8:01 left to play in the period, Peyton Krebs was called for a high sticking minor. Frost dazzled with a few offensive plays, but he had 2 shots that were blocked and set up a scoring chance that somehow managed to stay out of the net. However, the Sabres were very reactive to the Flyers’ schemes and had more chances shorthanded than the team that had the extra skater.

Their power play might be powerless but thankfully it hasn’t put a damper on their 5-on-5 play as Travis Konecny was able to stake the Flyers to a 3-0 lead after burying a breakaway goal with 5:03 left to play.

J.J. Peterka turned it over after an ill-advised pass in the offensive zone with Mittelstadt at the point. They must have had their wires crossed as Mittelstadt was inching towards the slot instead of staying at the point, but it worked in Konecny’s favour as he raced for a breakaway and ripped one past the glove of Luukkonen for his 9th goal of the season – tied for the NHL lead.

At the end of the period, the NHL’s best first period club held a 3-0 lead and a 9-4 shot advantage. The Sabres held a 7-5 lead in the faceoff dot and an 8-7 edge in hits.


18 seconds into the middle frame, Travis Sanheim was called for a hooking minor as he tied up Peterka with Samuel Ersson handling a bouncing puck for a big pad save. The Sabres had a few chances but Ersson stood tall and kept the door shut. Konecny had a glorious chance on an odd-man rush to give the Flyers a 4-goal lead but elected to pass it off to Laughton instead of taking the shot.

The game opened up in the second period as both teams had their scoring chances but the ice was very choppy, leading to a lot of turnovers and odd-man rushes. Konecny had about 4 chances just by himself with a few of the more dangerous ones going just wide.

After Joel Farabee beat the icing call with Owen Power lackadaisically chasing the puck, it set the Orange and Black up for an offensive zone shift that eventually led to Garnet Hathaway’s 2nd goal of the season.

Ryan Poehling, who re-entered the lineup, fed Hathaway with a perfect cross-seam pass from the boards across for a tap-in for his 2nd of the season and 2nd in as many games. He played a give-and-go with Nicolas Deslauriers after bouncing him a pass off the boards that he then received right back before finding Hathaway at the far side of the net.

The Sabres woke up in the second period and troubled the Flyers several times with dangerous opportunities, but Ersson stood his ground with a great bounce back effort after allowing 14 goals on 59 shots to start the season.

Buffalo held an 11-6 edge in shots in the period, which brought the total to an even 15 apiece. They also still held the edge in draws (13-10) but the Flyers came back with the rough stuff (14-13).


With the Sabres pressing, they finally chipped away at Ersson’s armour and beat him with a quick shot, glove-side with 17:36 remaining in regulation.

Poehling had a chance to get the puck out of the zone but he turned it over to Mittelstadt, who fired a seed of a pass to Henri Jokiharju who was wide open at the point, walked in, and fired a shot past Ersson’s glove for his first of the season. Ersson dropped down too early, came a little too far out of his crease, but was beaten on a stoppable shot on one of his well-known weaknesses to start this season.

With 12:45 remaining, Cam York was called for a tripping minor. The Sabres were pressing, Mittelstadt was robbed in the slot by the glove of Ersson, and the Flyers even had a defender lose his stick, but they were able to survive the man advantage with over 10 minutes to go.

Riding the momentum of the penalty kill, Bobby Brink scored his 3rd of the season to give the Flyers a 5-1 lead with just 8:32 left in regulation.

Erik Johnson tried dropping a pass to Alex Tuch near the blue-line, but Farabee read the play perfectly and poked it ahead. He raced down towards the loose puck, waited for Brink to separate himself before threading the needle with a pass, Brink then walked in on Luukkonen and beat him glove-side similarly to Konecny’s goal earlier in the first period.

With 1:56 left in the game, Garnet Hathaway finished a check along the boards just outside of the Flyers zone on Dylan Cozens. Cozens took exception and cross-checked Hathaway in the back, to which the referee decided to send both players to the sin bin. Hathaway, angered by that cross-check, got up and dropped the gloves with the youngster before sending him to the ice with a heavy punch.

With just a few seconds remaining, Peyton Krebs and Joel Farabee almost dropped the gloves but the referees stepped in with the game coming to a close.

The Flyers bounced back with a strong win to even out the home-and-home. Samuel Ersson earned his first win of the season with 21 saves on the docket, the Flyers opened the scoring with 2 goals in the first 91 seconds of the game, the penalty kill was 3-for-3, and Travis Konecny and Bobby Brink found ways to chip in offensively once again.


The Flyers are headed back home to face the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night (7:30pm ET, NBCSP).

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