Sabres Offensive Outburst Grounds Flyers

The Sabres struggled to start this game, but four goals over four minutes spanning two periods finally got rid of this season's Flyers hoodoo.

Sabres Offensive Outburst Grounds Flyers

Score: Flyers 3, Sabres 6

Shots: PHI 42 (14-17-11), BUF 29 (5-17-7)

Philadephia Flyers Goals: Morgan Frost (17, 18), Travis Konecny (28)

Buffalo Sabres Goals: Kyle Okposo (11), Alex Tuch (33), Jordan Greenway (5), Jeff Skinner (33), Alex Tuch (34, 35)

Plus 1: Scoring In Bunches

The Sabres struggled to start this game on both ends of the ice, but it was over four minutes spanning two periods that they finally got rid of the Flyers hoodoo that they'd built up this season. Twice Buffalo has come out flat against Philadelphia and twice they've been beaten soundly, and tonight was going that way too until Kyle Okposo banged one home on a 2-on-1 ten seconds before the end of the first period to level the game.

They started the second looking more like the Sabres we've seen often this season, swarming the Flyers goal and peppering Felix Sandstrom with shots. Alex Tuch, Jordan Greenway and Jeff Skinner all added markers to make it 4-1 less than five minutes into the second period and pretty much end the game as a contest as a smattering of boos came down from the home crowd. The Philly fanbase never fails to deliver.

Recap: BUF 6, PHI 3
Buffalo Sabres, 6 - Philadelphia Flyers, 3

Plus 2: No Tage? Silky Mitts Delivers

Casey Mittelstadt has always been a polarizing figure for the Sabres fans. He didn't exactly light the league up when he first appeared on the scene, and might never be a top line center, but dangit if he hasn't made himself into a very useful middle six forward that contributes all over the ice.

Tonight's hat-trick of assists makes it seven apples in the last four games, and six in the last three since he's replaced Tage Thompson on the top line. His season-by-season development has shown him maturing, and it's no surprise that he's becoming a key cog in Don Granato's thinking. His 39 assists puts him in fourth in the team, just one behind Skinner in third. And for those who still have questions about his durability, Mittelstadt is the only player on the roster to have played in all 75 games so far.

Speaking of the top line, Tuch and Skinner are developing a healthy scoring race between themselves, with the pair accounting for four goals on Broad Street, making it 35 and 33 on the season respectively. If Dylan Cozens and Victor Olofsson can catch fire late on, the Sabres could finish the season with five 30-goal players!

Minus 1: Hanging UPL Out To Dry

<insert John Travolta looking around GIF here>

What is with this team whenever Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen starts in goal? It's like they collectively forget everything they've ever learned about team defense. We've seen them playing better so we know they're certainly capable of it. Buffalo gave up 11 high danger chances in this one, including about a dozen shots from the slot as they struggled to keep the lane clear in front of UPL all night long.

The goaltender leaves Philadelphia with his 17th win of the season and improving his 3.63 GAA and 0.890 SV%, but boy his teammates made it incredibly difficult for him. UPL faced a total of 42 shots in this game, and a lot of those came from either Buffalo relinquishing the blue line too easily, or else from poor turnovers as jelly legs failed to clear the defensive zone.

The Sabres have UPL to thank again for keeping them in this one | MoneyPuck

Final Thoughts

The Buffalo Sabres extended their points streak to five games now, and are still alive in the extremely tight Eastern Conference wildcard race. Using points percentage, it's the Isles with .565, then the Pens on .553 and the Panthers with .552, with the Sabres on .540, wow.

Next up for the Sabres is a wildcard four-pointer against the Florida Panthers in the Sunshine State. Former Sabre Sam Reinhart notched a goal as his side blew out the Columbus Blue Jackets to stay four points ahead of the Sabres. The New York Islanders are on 87 points with five games to play, the Panthers have 85 with the same number of games left, the Pittsburgh Penguins are on 84 from 76 games and the Sabres have 81 from 75.

Meaningful hockey in April? Yes Siree Bob!

Comment of the Game

Jedi_lightSabre has his finger on the pulse of these Sabres doesn't he? This was his comment when Buffalo made it 5-1 late in the second period.  

Ok do we win this game 6-2 or do they play their usual 3rd period and hang on 5-4?

Tuch getting his hatty on the penalty kill made it 6-3 when the Flyers were buzzing about with two consecutive powerplays, and that finally knocked the stuffing out of the hosts.