Oskar Lindbolm and Jakub Voracek scored to give the Philadelphia Flyers a 2-0 lead less than eight minutes into the first period and they never looked back, knocking off the Buffalo Sabres 5-2. Jack Eichel and Casey Mittelstadt scored for the Sabres, who slip further down the standings as their record drops to 29-26-8.
5 Observations from Tuesday's loss:
With their win on Tuesday, the Flyers now have more points than the Sabres. You know, the Flyers team that was one of the worst in the NHL a few months ago. Since their last meeting in December the two teams have gone in opposite directions and now the Sabres' already slim chances at a playoff spot become even slimmer.
In his first game with the blue and gold, there were plenty of things to like about newly acquired defenseman Brandon Montour. What stood out in just his first game is his ability to break the puck out of the Sabres own end. It was most noticeable on their second goal when Montour outmuscled an opponent and sent a quick pass to Conor Sheary to lead the Sabres on a rush. Sheary then found Evan Rodrigues, who sent a perfect pass to Casey Mittelstadt for the goal.
Here's the play:
Catch 62 setting up the action. 👀 pic.twitter.com/c6STNxIrRL— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) February 27, 2019
Montour also laid out a big hit in the third period, quickly getting back into the defensive zone after he joined the rush. It's nice to see that he's not shy to throw around his weight.
To be fair, the newcomer also had some moments that left more to be desired. On the Flyers third goal from James van Riemsdyk, Montour didn't tie up the Flyers forward, allowing him to have a cleaner look at the redirection.
In the third period, Montour couldn't connect on a one-timer from Eichel and the puck ended up in the Sabres net seconds later after Travis Sanheim converted on an odd-man rush. The pass from Eichel was deflected, making it a tough shot to connect on, so it's certainly not fair to put all the blame on Montour.
Overall, even with the mistakes, I thought Montour was solid in his debut. It's been a whirlwind few days for the 24-year-old defenseman and as he gets used to his new teammates it's fair to expect he'll keep getting better.
It seems like in every game the Sabres have recently played they've had a 10-minute stretch where they're completely outplayed. On Monday it was in the second period when the Maple Leafs scored four goals. Against the Flyers, it was the first 10 minutes. Eichel's power play goal at the end of the first gave the Sabres a bit of life but it wasn't enough to climb the Sabres out of an early 2-0 deficit.
Still no secondary scoring
How many times this year have we talked about the Sabres lack of secondary scoring? It was one of the Sabres biggest problems again on Tuesday, with only two goals scored, one of which came on the power play. More often than not two goals aren't going to be enough.
No place like home
Full disclosure -- I didn't know this stat until I heard it on the NBC Sports broadcast. Did you know that in their last 19 road games the Sabres only have THREE WINS?! How is that even possible? Of all the bad stats and trends tied to the Sabres, this might be one of the most eye-opening.
I'll save you the research -- the wins are:
Dec. 16th vs. Bruins
Jan. 16th vs. Flames
Jan. 29th vs. Columbus