Score: Sabres 0 | Flyers 3
Shots: BUF - 37 | PHI - 22
Sabres Goals: None
Flyers Goals: Travis Konecny (4), Jakub Voracek (1), Kevin Hayes (2) (ENG)
Minus 1 | Failure to Finish
In a game where the Buffalo Sabres registered a higher rate of expected goals (2.32 at even-strength) than their opponent, a failure to finish chances led to their third loss in four games. This game was a bit reminiscent of their second of two losses to the Washington Capitals last week where they outplayed their opponents, but failed to convert their shots.
The good news here is that if the Sabres keep winning the possession and shot battles like they’ve been, they’ll keep themselves in the thick of things in a tough East Division. Still, a failure to convert has led to a 1-3-0 record, when it could just as easily be 3-1-0 right now.
Minus 2 | Thin in Net
After missing Linus Ullmark for the last two games due to personal reasons, the Sabres were already short a goalie. Prior to the third period of tonight’s contest, Carter Hutton (who had been playing very well) left the game with an injury (presumably when Brandon Montour sent a Flyer into him which caused him to lose his mask in the second period).
This is a little tough to put as a “minus” here, because it has nothing to do with the play on the ice. That said, Kevyn Adams needs to add an NHL capable reinforcement, especially if either of their incumbent netminders are to miss an extended period of time.
Minus 3 | Power-Play Needs to Step Up
This is a big one. After finally finding some power-play success last night (going 2-for-4 after converting only once in their eight opportunities to start the year), the man-advantage fell short again tonight. On three opportunities, one of which included over a minute at 5-on-3, Buffalo generated several chances, but could not solve Brian Elliott.
After four games, converting only three man-advantage goals in 15 opportunities isn’t terrible in terms of percentage. With the offensive prowess the Sabres possess on both units however, they need to find a higher rate of success and consistency.
Plus 1 | The Hall-Eichel-Reinhart Line
If you were to tell me that Jack Eichel, Taylor Hall, and Sam Reinhart played the entire game without ever having their skates touch the defensive zone, I might believe you. Since Ralph Krueger assembled this trio, they have simply dominated offensive possession.
As a group, they carried an xGF rate of 72.60-percent in the nearly 14 minutes they spent together at even-strength. If they can start converting those extended offensive zone possessions into tangible results, they will be recognized as one of the most dangerous lines in hockey.
Krueger’s squad will look to regroup on Friday as they travel to Washington to once again square-off with the Capitals for another two-game tilt. Puck drop is set for 7:00PM.