Game 27: Turnovers, Turnovers, Blown Leads, and Turnovers

After a dominant 1st period, the Sabres shriveled up and gave up four unanswered goals to give the Flyers a 4-3 lead. Buffalo would tie the game up late to force OT and get a point,  but that would be it as Claude Giroux would score the GWG on a breakaway, courtesy of an absolutely horrible turnover by Gragnani to give the Flyers the 5-4 win. The Sabres are a mediocre 5-8-2 on home ice this season.

 

1st Period: Buffalo had some uncharacteristic jump at home for the first few minutes, but all of that possession didn’t amount to many scoring chances. Kassian gave Buffalo a power play early on because of some strong play in front of the Flyers goal. The Sabres did squat with their early chance. In fact, the Flyers had the only scoring chance on it. Still, Buffalo’s energy level at even-strength was still very good. They were outshooting the Flyers 9-to-3 at the half-way point of the period. Zach Rinaldo took a holding-the-stick penalty on Tyler Ennis to give the Sabres a 2nd chance on the power play and they would not disappoint this time. Luke Adam picked the pocket of a Philly penalty killer and dished the puck to Kassian who made a nice drop pass to Ville Leino and he fired it in past Brysgalov.

The Flyers picked up their play in a big way after that goal though. Philly was constantly applying pressure, peppering Miller with 12 shots. Miller was up to the task though, saving all 12 shots including a great poke-check on Jaromir Jagr on a breakaway. During that time, Joe Finley belted Zac Rinaldo after he popped Tyler Ennis. They gave him a roughing penalty on the play, but it was well worth it. Buffalo went on to kill the penalty and even managed to get a solid scoring chance on it too.

Believe it or not, the Sabres would score the next goal of this game though. Kassian got the puck, skated into the Flyers’ zone, and used the defenseman as a screen to score shortside on Brysgalov. Shortly after that, the defenseman, Meszaros took a bad penalty on Ennis to give Buffalo their 3rd power play of the game. The Sabres made quick work of the Flyers PK again, thanks to some soft play by Brysgalov in goal. Vanek took a shot from the top of the circle that went right through the Flyer goaltender to give Buffalo a 3-0 lead. Unfortunately, the Sabres would give up a goal with just over a second left in the period. Nathan Gerbe gave the puck away at the blueline, allowing Voracek and Talbot to go in on a 2-on-1. Talbot took the pass from Voracek and slid the puck past Ryan Miller, who got pulled out-of-position. That wasn’t the end of the fireworks though. Right off the face-off, Corey Tropp and Zac Rinaldo duked it out to end the period. Tropp won decidedly and the Sabres left the ice with a 3-1 lead and a little more momentum than they had a second ago.

 

2nd Period: On the first shift of the period, Christian Ehrhoff made a horrible read to give the Flyers a 2-on-1, but the post and Gragnani helped prevent a Philly goal. Almost right after that, the puck made it’s way into the zone and Miller was forced to come out and play the puck away from a charging Wayne Simmonds. He was successful, but Giroux followed up on the play and threw the puck on net, forcing Miller to make a desperation save. Brayden McNabb and the puck both whacked Miller in the face on the play and he had to got some minor medical attention before play could continue.

Philly would give some of the momentum they obtained with their hard-work back to the Sabres though. Gerbe got boarded from behind by Bourdon and Matt Ellis went to fight him and faired very well. Gerbe would go to the locker room after that sequence and wouldn’t return due to an upper-body injury. The Sabres would somehow not get a power play after that and after a godawful Ehrhoff giveaway in the neutral-zone, Philly would capitalize on that opportunity. Kimmo Timmonen took a shot from just inside the blueline with traffic in front of Miller who didn’t get enough of a piece of the shot to stop it. At the nine-minute mark of the 2nd, the Sabres only had one shot on goal, a far cry from earlier in the game. Buffalo would get a chance to rectify that though, courtesy of a holding penalty James Van Riemsdyk took on Sekera. They wouldn’t do anything with the chance though. Sekera had a nice hit during the power play.

Philly would tie this game up at 3-3 because of a Tyler Ennis giveaway along the boards in the Sabres’ zone. Giroux fed the puck across the ice and it would make it’s way to Scott Hartnell who took a shot that changed directions off of Ehrhoff’s skate for the goal. A little bit later on, Philly made their way up the ice after a blown scoring chance by Buffalo and Jaromir Jagr absolutely sniped Ryan Miller to give the Flyers their first lead in the game, 4-3 and that’s how it would stay heading into the 3rd period.

There’s something about 2nd periods with this team. They just aren’t that good in them most of the time.  Despite carrying the play with regard to scoring and physical play in the 1st,  Buffalo skated almost the exact opposite of the way during this period; they looked slow and tentative out there, save for the odd shift. As a result of that effort along with the many turnovers, the Flyers scored three goals in the 2nd and four unanswered goals overall.

 

3rd Period: At the start of the period, Buffalo’s energy level was somewhere between the 1st & 2nd period efforts. Not good, but not bad either. The Leino-Adam-Kassian line and Vanek had some nice shifts. Overall, it was definitely not a good enough response to what just took place in the 2nd early on. Drew Stafford missed 3/4 wide-open net after some solid work by Roy and Ennis to get him the puck. Buffalo only had two shots on goal half-way through the period. Needless to say, the offensive-zone time was pretty limited during that stretch of play and it continued on up until around the two-minute mark. Ruff pulled the goalie and Vanek and Pominville both made some great plays and got the puck out to a wide-open Drew Stafford who finally buried a point-blank chance to tie the game up and send the game to OT.

 

Overtime: There were some good chances for both sides, but the Flyers would emerge victorious. Gragnani made a horrible pass that squirt defensemen know not to make and sent Giroux on a breakaway and he beat Ryan Miller to give the Flyers a 5-4 win.

 

Time for the quick-hits:

-I’m done with Gragnani, I’m #$%#ing done. Holy crap. How can you possibly be that bad on defense? That was the best pass he’s made all year and it was to the other team.

-Besides Grags, Ennis, Gerbe, and Ehrhoff all had bad turnovers that led to goals against. Apparently, the Sabres only had 12 giveaways in this game. I find that extremely hard to believe.

-Ehrhoff gets a mulligan for his godawful play tonight since he’s been carrying the blueline for weeks.

-I’ll give credit to Stafford for burying his chance, but that still doesn’t change the fact that he missed a couple other point-blank chances or the fact that he was pretty much invisible in this game. Darcy should be shopping him.

-Roy, Vanek, Adam, Leino, and Kassian were the only forwards I liked tonight.

-Ryan Miller was left to die after the first period.

-I think it’s time to start having the “Fire Lindy” discussion. How do these efforts at home, awful 2nd periods, constantly blowing leads, etc. keep happening over and over again. It’s too bad Kevin Dineen still isn’t with the organization.

-On a positive note, Leino seems to have finally found linemates he clicks with. He may get Shanabanned for a game for that elbow though.

-Could the Versus announcers be any more one-sided. Every play by Philly was great while every bad play by Philly was a fluke.

-Bourdon should be suspended for that hit that he threw. Charging a player from behind like that is despicable.

-McNabb didn’t look good, but obviously, rookies have some leeway in that department. Growing pains happen.

 

Scoring Per Period

1

2

3

OT

Total

Buffalo

3

0

1

0

4

Philadelphia

1

3

0

1

5

Shots On Goal

1

2

3

OT

Total

Buffalo

13

5

5

1

24

Philadelphia

16

9

6

3

34

Team Stats

Hits

Giveaways

Takeaways

Faceoffs Won

PIM

Buffalo

17

12

4

27

24

Philadelphia

23

12

6

20

33

Scoring Summary:

Buffalo- Leino PP (Kassian, Adam), Kassian (Sekera), Vanek PP (Pominville, Roy), Stafford (Pominville, Gragnani)

Philadelphia- Talbot (Voracek), Read (Timmonen, Giroux), Hartnell (Giroux), Jagr (Giroux), Giroux (Gragnani…err Unassisted)

 

Power Play:

Buffalo: 2-for-4

Philadelphia: 0-for-1

 

Game Scoresheet

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