If you were expecting the Flyers-Sabres matchup to be a trap game for the surging Flyers, you thought wrong.
The Flyers overcame a sluggish first period to extend their winning streak to nine games and remain in a virtual tie for the Metropolitan Division lead with the Capitals, who beat the Penguins, 5-2, earlier Saturday. The Sabres, meanwhile, have dropped six straight.
Here are some other quick hits:
Slow start: The Flyers were outshot, 13-4, in the first period, and failed to convert on back-to-back power plays in the game’s first 10 minutes. Before they had a shot on goal, the Flyers got their first power play on a slashing penalty called on Buffalo defenseman Brandon Montour. Then, just as the power play expired, Sabres defenseman Colin Miller was called for holding. The Flyers couldn’t convert on that power play, either. Going into Saturday, the Flyers’ power play ranked eighth in the league. They had been hitting 36.4% on the power play during the eight-game winning streak.
Giroux’s big night: Veteran forward Claude Giroux put an end to 30 minutes of scoreless hockey when he found the back of the net on a backhand shot midway through the second period. The goal was the captain’s 20th of the season, and it put the Flyers up, 1-0. After the Sabres tied the game later in the second, Giroux was a game changer again, putting the Flyers up, 2-1, with a goal in the third.
Hart stays hot: While the Flyers’ first period was nothing to write home about, goaltender Carter Hart started strong. The 21-year-old had two big saves in the first few minutes, and logged a perfect 13 saves on 13 shots in the first period alone. He was slow to get up after a save in the second period, and shortly afterward allowed the Sabres’ first goal of the evening. Buffalo winger Dominik Kahun tied the game at the end of the second period. With Saturday’s performance, Hart has gone 20-2-2 at home on the season. Since coming back from an abdominal strain last month, he’s been an impressive 8-1.
Farabee puts game away: Joel Farabee capitalized on a mistake by Buffalo goaltender Carter Hutton and scored unassisted toward the end of the third period, putting the nail in the coffin for the Sabres. The 20-year-old was recalled from the Phantoms earlier this week.
Voracek assists: Winger Jake Voracek continued to be an asset to the Flyers, assisting on both of Giroux’s goals.
Myers takes a shot: Flyers defenseman Philippe Myers gave Flyers fans a scare when he limped off the ice after blocking a shot in the third period. He returned to the bench and then the ice shortly after, however.
Well, the two best teams in the conference. The Flyers play Boston at home on Tuesday and Tampa Bay on the road on Thursday. Looking further ahead, the Flyers will next meet the Sabres in their final regular-season game on April 4.