Quick Hits: Sabres at Flyers

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Matt Moulson scored twice and goaltender Anders Nilsson made 38 saves in his first start of the season, but it wasn’t enough as the Buffalo Sabres squandered a three-goal third period lead, falling 4-3 in a shootout to a Flyers team playing their third game in four nights.

Buffalo went scoreless in the shootout while Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek clinched the win for Philadelphia.

The loss ended Buffalo’s four-game road swing in disappointing fashion, earning just four (1-1-2) of a possible eight points on the trip.

Nilsson made his first official start as a member of the Sabres on Tuesday due to starter Robin Lehner coming down with an illness. For most of the night, Nilsson was calm in the crease, had strong rebound control and came up big when needed to keep Buffalo in the lead. Unfortunately, the lack of discipline by the Sabres left the him out to dry in the third period — he faced 19 shots in the period — as the Flyers scored three third-period power-play goals to force overtime.

Two of the goals came in the final three minutes of the game when Brayden Schenn and Mark Streit found the back of the net just 1:05 apart from each other. The Flyers got on the board 4:30 into the third with a power-play goal by Travis Konecny. It was Konecny’s first career goal, and it came on his fourth shot of the game. He finished with four shots.

If there was something for the Sabres to be happy with coming out of the game, it’s the fact that Moulson continued his hot start to the season, picking up his third and fourth goals of the season in the second period. Both goals came on the power play, which just so happens to be how is other two goals have been scored this year.

As of end of game Tuesday, Moulson leads the NHL in man advantage goals with four.

Tyler Ennis also tallied a goal by way of a deflection of a shot by Zemgus Girgensons to open the scoring. It was Ennis’ first of the season, and first since October 27, 2015 against the Flyers.

Buffalo now has to find a way to forget about the collapse because the Minnesota Wild (4-2-1) come to town on Thursday fresh off a 5-0 stomping of the Boston Bruins.

Now, the quick hits:

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    • Ryan O’Reilly — A Wizard?
Philadelphia Flyers' Nick Schultz, left, defends as Buffalo Sabres' Ryan O'Reilly, right, takes a shot during the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015 in Philadelphia. The Sabres won 4-3 in overtime. (AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)

(AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)

There isn’t a game that goes by where O’Reilly doesn’t impress on the ice. He’s a player that doesn’t even have to get on the score sheet every night yet still does something that has you saying “Wow!”. A prime example came in the first period when he somehow found Kyle Okposo across the ice for a prime scoring chance that couldn’t be buried. That type of vision is something that only a select few players in the league have, and O’Reilly’s one of them.

Of course, he did find himself on the score sheet on Tuesday thanks to a second-period assist on Matt Moulson’s power-play goal.

    • Really NBCSN?

I get why the network did it, but it’s hard to come off as legitimate when a game on national TV uses a local broadcast pair. And, sure, it’s not the only time NBCSN has done it, but that doesn’t make it good or right. Listening to the Flyers’ broadcast team try — and fail — to not be their usual pro-Flyers selves was not enjoyable whatsoever. After all, it’s tough, even for the best professionals, to switch gears like that when you happen to be calling a game for the team you always call.

I don’t really put blame Jim Jackson and company for it either because I can’t expect them to be objective throughout; Kieth Jones, thanks to working with NBCSN on a regular basis, did well in the role as usual, but he was the only bright spot of the broadcast. Instead, it all goes to the network and Comcast for the laziness that comes just from the idea of penny pinching. I doubt anyone watching nationally cares how you can by Flyers tickets, and what the next home games are. I can only wonder what the backlash would be if the NBA or MLB used a team’s local crew on ESPN. I can go on and on about this, but I’ll spare you all the suffering.

    • Moulson Canadian

Matt Moulson continues to look like the Moulson of old, scoring his third and fourth goals of the season in just the fifth game of the year. Moulson just looks so much stronger around the puck, and isn’t afraid to throw the puck at the net.

Last year, Moulson seemed to think about shots far too often, leading to missed opportunities. So far this year, if a chance presents itself, Moulson hasn’t been afraid to get the puck to the net.  If he keeps playing this way, it’ll be almost as if the Sabres added another scorer in the offseason. It’s impressive to see. Of course, it would be wrong not to mention the fact that Moulson scored four goals in his first 12 games last season before scoring just four more over the final 69.

    • Overtime “Strategy”

I’m not going to spend too much time on this, but what in the world was that overtime “strategy” the Sabres were using. Not once but twice, a Buffalo player passed the puck back to Nilsson in order to make a line change.

Apparently, the Sabres didn’t know that it’s okay to try and score in the overtime period. It was as if they were just doing whatever they could to keep the Flyers away from the puck, and get the game to a shootout. Not good. Not good at all.

    • Oh so close….

Written by Mike Straw

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