The Philadelphia Flyers inflicted a third straight defeat on the Buffalo Sabres with an emphatic 6-1 victory at Wells Fargo Center. Two goals from James Van Riemsdyk ensured a fifth win in six games on home ice. The Sabres minus captain Jack Eichel (upper-body injury) were overmatched and out hustled for long periods of the game, forcing just 16 saves from Flyers goaltender Carter Hart.
Mikhail Vorobyev opening the scoring for the Flyers (13.04) with a wrist shot from the right wing that deflected off Conor Sheary, prior to the Sabres pushing the self destruct button. Coach Ralph Krueger challenged the Flyers second goal of the night for what he believed to be goaltender interference much to the dismay of everyone inside the Wells Fargo Center.
James Van Riemadyk had inadvertently deflected the puck off both skates and beyond goaltender Carter Hutton courtesy of some smart play behind the net by Kevin Hayes. Upon review the call on the ice stood and the Flyers made the most of the ensuing power-play (courtesy of the failed challenge), as Matt Niskanen fired into the empty net following two beautiful passages of play once again from Kevin Hayes to give the Flyers a 3-0 lead.
Flyers in must win game
“It all starts before the game, we said it was a must win game. Big two points. We lost three in a row and the next I think it was five before break. They are important games. You can start looking at the standings now to see where you are for playoffs and stuff. When you’re losing three in a row you don’t wanna fall into that dip there but I thought tonight we came out right from the start,” Hayes said.
Another three goals during the second period put the game beyond doubt. The first coming via a power-play as Ivan Provorov buried the puck beyond the screened off Hutton. Tyler Pitlick persistence paid off as he collected his own rebound to backhand the loose puck beyond Hutton for his third goal of the season. James Van Riemsdyk rounded out the Flyers scoring with his second of the game, coming off a wrist shot that deflected off the skate of Rasmus Ristolainen as the Flyers took advantage of another power-play.
Tensions boiled over during the third period as Rasmus Dahlin and Travis Konecny sparked a brief melee. Dahlin was given a double-minor for slashing and cross-checking for his troubles. Victor Olofssin prevented a shutout for the Sabres with his 15th of the season during a power-play, deflecting Ramus Dahlin’s shot beyond Hart with 8.25 left in the game.
The Buffalo Sabres host the LA Kings on Saturday, whilst the Philadelphia Flyers travel to Ottawa to take on the Senators.