Claude Giroux mentioned Monday after the Flyers rallied with three goals in the third period that Scott Laughton and Justin Braun spoke up in the dressing room during the second intermission. He said it was good for the club to hear from some different voices to snap things out of yet another listless performance.
That didn’t happen on Wednesday, and the Flyers fell like a cinder block from a construction site. This time 6-1 to a Sabres team that had lost 18 in a row.
There’s only so much talking can do.
Gustafsson looking lost
As free-agent signings go, Erik Gustafsson is Adam Eaton and heading toward Danny Tartabull.
Gustafsson, here on a one-year, $3 million deal, was on the ice for three of Buffalo’s last four goals, has scored once in 24 games, and was -5 in March.
The Flyers have a better record without him in the lineup (7-4-0) than with him (10-10-4). Perhaps it’s the effect of having a limited training camp with his new team, no preseason games, and very few opportunities to practice in-season, but he looks lost out there at times.
Throughout the Flyers’ lackluster play, one of head coach Alain Vigneault’s aspirations was to try to keep the same lineup, if not the same combinations. So it was curious that ahead of two upcoming off days (Thursday and Friday), the Flyers waived and eventually sent Shayne Gostisbehere to the taxi squad and benched Nolan Patrick and Oskar Lindblom following Monday’s hairy win.
It was an attempt at load management for Patrick, who missed all of last season with a migraine disorder, and Lindblom, who missed most of it with Ewing’s sarcoma. They didn’t lose because Connor Bunnaman and Carsen Twarynski came into the lineup, but they’re a tired team. If more of the top nine forwards are going to need rest, then it’s probably time to embrace baseball season.
Bryson’s play shines
Sabres rookie Jacob Bryson had been 1-15 in his career (Buffalo’s record) and was -7. He had two assists on Wednesday and was +4.
The Flyers went 6-10-1 in March, but outshot their opponents in 14 of the 17 games. The Sabres after the game said that they knew they were in good shape when they survived a push by the Flyers early in the second period, which included Ivan Provorov’s goal to make it 2-1.
“The fun part of that was our players really wanted to get back to [playing] our game,” Sabres interim coach Don Granato explained. “The bench was saying, ‘Let’s just get through this, and get back to playing our game.’ There was an energy toward that [notion], and then they were able to do it.”
Not saying it’s an easy thing to conjure, but that’s something the Flyers definitely are missing: Joy.