The Sabres used a dominant second period to defeat the Flyers 4-1 tonight, earning a point for the fourth straight game in a streak that started with the first game of 2017.
Anders Nilsson made 39 saves playing in place of the ill Robin Lehner, earning the unfortunate Ryan Miller shutout when Brayden Schenn scored on a beautiful shot with two minutes remaining in the game. Nilsson continued to make a case for him getting more playing time.
The Sabres scored their first three goals in the second, igniting after a forgettable first frame for both teams. The offensive spark began when Dan Bylsma moved Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart to the same line. Reinhart scored his ninth of the season five minutes into the period after corralling a bullet of a pass from Rasmus Ristolainen from the point. Standing on the right side of the net, Reinhart was able to slam the shot into the net before Steve Mason could make it over.
Jack Eichel nearly set up Reinhart for a second goal a few minutes later, but didn’t let him missing the net slow them down. Will Carrier made it a two goal game the following shift, beating Mason on a long rebound.
With eight seconds left in the period Evander Kane capitalized on another rebound, scoring his tenth of the season.
Marcus Foligno put the icing on the cake following the Schenn goal, scoring on the empty net.
Reinhart’s assists on the Kane and Foligno goals gave him 11 points in the last ten games (3 G, 8 A). Both were primary assists, meaning only 11 players in the league have more primary assists than he does.
Overall, the Sabres seem to have life in them that they haven’t had much this season. Now it’s a matter of consistency.
1. Can the Sabres continue their point streak?
Continue it they did. By defeating the Flyers, who currently hold the final wild card spot, the Sabres are seven games out of wild card position and five points behind the Senators for the last spot in the Atlantic Division.
2. Will the missing Sabres see the ice?
None of the Sabres missing from practice this morning (Josh Gorges, Dmitry Kulikov and Robin Lehner) played tonight, but it wasn’t detrimental to the team’s success.
Shout out to Taylor Fedun, who has been playing quite well when called upon for the Sabres. He took a really smart shot that acted more like a pass to Carrier for the second goal. Now, if I were the GM I’d waive Gorges and keep Fedun on the roster, but I also don’t know what that would do to the locker room.