By Connor Thomas
One of the calling cards of last year’s Philadelphia Flyers team was their innate ability to bounce back following losses. Alain Vigneault’s squad was incredibly good in games following a loss, ending the shortened regular season with a 2 month stretch where they did not drop back to back games. Judging by last night’s performance, the 2020-21 Flyers have picked up where that team left off. After an ugly 6-1 loss to the Sabres on Monday night, the bullies were able to take a commanding victory last night in the back end of the back to back, thanks in no small part to the efforts of veteran goalie Brian Elliott. After relieving Carter Hart in Monday’s blowout, Elliott made his first start of the season, and what a start it was. The man known as Moose was magic in the crease, as he stopped all 40 shots that he faced over the course of the game, including a few that required diving efforts and complete splits. Philadelphia’s defense did not turn in a perfect performance, with some sloppy turnovers carrying over from the night before at some points. But Elliott was there at every turn to keep the Flyers’ night clean on the score sheet, truly earning his first win of the year.
Of course, you can’t win if you don’t score yourself, and the orange and black had a little trouble with that early in the game. Both teams were scoreless in the 1st period, with the Flyers even having to kill off a 2 man Buffalo advantage early in the game. The Sabres remained stifled in the 2nd, but in the waning minutes of that period, Philadelphia and NHL goals leader Travis Konecny got a breakaway opportunity thanks to a beautiful outlet from Oskar Lindblom. Konecny was able to slide a slow backhand through the five hole of Sabres net minder Carter Hutton to give Philly a 1-0 lead. Coming out of the 2nd intermission, Buffalo had replaced Hutton due to injury, but unfortunately for them, back-up goalie Jonas Johansson did not fare any better, allowing Jakub Voracek to net a one timer off a pass from Kevin Hayes. With a 2-0 lead late in a game that Brian Elliott seemed more like Patrick Roy than himself, the win was all but in hand. The Sabres did pull Johansson for about a minute to attempt a comeback, but Hayes sent a clear all the way down the ice and into the empty Buffalo net to end that effort.
The Flyers 3-0 victory was their 3rd of the season, while the Sabres fell to 1-3. The Flyers will be back in action on Thursday night as the team travels to Boston to face the Bruins in their first road trip of the year.