Sloppy second period dooms Flyers in loss to Sabres

Sloppy second period dooms Flyers in loss to Sabres

BOX SCORE

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Flyers have been at their best in the second period this season.

Except when they play the Buffalo Sabres.

The Sabres scored three times in the second period of Tuesday night’s 4-1 victory over the visiting Flyers (see Instant Replay). They also outscored the Flyers, 3-0, in the second period of their previous meeting on Oct. 25 at the Wells Fargo Center, before the Flyers came back for the 4-3 shootout win.

In their other 40 games, the Flyers have outscored opponents, 53-34, in the second period. They rank second in the NHL in second-period scoring behind the New York Rangers.

The Flyers were pleased with the way they played for two-thirds of Tuesday night’s game. But the wayward second doomed them to their ninth loss in 11 games.

“First and third, we played some good hockey and the second period was a little different,” captain Claude Giroux said. “We didn’t support each other as much. First and third period, we played as a unit of five. It makes our job a lot easier when we play together.”

Sam Reinhart’s power-play goal on a tight-angle wrist shot from the left side of the net gave the Sabres a 1-0 lead 5:15 into the second period. The Flyers’ struggles snowballed from there.

“After we gave up the PP goal against, from there we didn’t check well the rest of the period. That was the difference,” coach Dave Hakstol said. “Coming back into the zone on our rush coverage, we didn’t sort.”

That’s how the Sabres got their second goal 3:24 later. William Carrier was uncovered skating up the left side and beat Giroux to a rebound for a wrist shot that Steve Mason had little chance to stop.

“Unfortunately, in the second there we were off our game plan and we paid for it,” defenseman Andrew MacDonald said.

Evander Kane gave Buffalo a 3-0 lead with just nine seconds left in the third period. Kane came up with the puck after it bounced off MacDonald’s skate and whistled a high wrist shot past Mason.

“It’s a tough one to give up,” MacDonald said. “Anything late in the third period like that. There’s a big difference between being down two and three going into the third. We had the same mindset going out. We knew we had to battle back. But the third one made it tougher.”

The Flyers were able to score three goals in the third period the last time the two teams met. But on Tuesday, they could only muster a power-play goal from Brayden Schenn — after Mason was pulled to make it 6-on-4 — with 2:07 remaining.

“In the third, we pressed hard,” MacDonald said. “But it was too little, too late.”

Mason said the Flyers’ second-period wounds were self-inflicted.

“We did it to ourselves,” Mason said. “We were sloppy and they came with speed off the rush and we’ve got to do a better job in the second period overall. I think when we go back and look at the tape, it was a lot of what we did wrong in the second and not what they did to force us. It was all our own doing.”

Instant Replay: Sabres 4, Flyers 1

Instant Replay: Sabres 4, Flyers 1

BOX SCORE

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Back in October, the Flyers overcame a three-goal deficit in the third period to come back and beat the Sabres in a shootout at the Wells Fargo Center.

The Flyers couldn’t repeat that feat Tuesday night in Buffalo.

The Sabres scored three times in the second period to defeat the Flyers, 4-1.

Brayden Schenn scored his 13th goal of the season on a power play with 2:07 remaining to avoid a shutout.

The Flyers have now lost nine of 11 following their 10-game winning streak.

The Sabres have outscored the Flyers, 6-0, in second periods this season. In the other 40 games, the Flyers have netted 53 goals and allowed 34 during that period.

Goalie report
Steve Mason started his second straight game and made 23 saves. A few of them were highlight-reel quality, but the Sabres were able to beat Mason with high shots when he dropped to the ice.

Power play
The Flyers’ struggling power play — once ranked No. 1 in the NHL — scored for just the fourth time in its last 34 chances. The goal came on a 6-on-4 after Mason got pulled.

Claude Giroux drew a holding penalty on a drive to the net in the first period and the Flyers put six shots on goal during that power play but Buffalo goaltender Anders Nillson stopped them all.

Penalty kill
Sam Reinhart scored the Sabres’ first goal 1:18 after Schenn went to the box for hooking. Mason needed to make only one save later in the period after Michael Del Zotto’s holding penalty put the Sabres back on the power play.

Notable goals
Schenn scored his ninth power-play goal of the season, tying him with Sidney Crosby and Cam Atkinson for the NHL lead. He has six of the Flyers' last seven power-play goals.

Slow start
The Flyers put 13 shots on goal in the first period but eight of them came in the final five minutes.

First-round knockout
Brandon Manning mixed it up with Buffalo’s Nicolas Deslauriers early in the first period. After an extended back and forth, Deslauriers dropped Manning with an uppercut.

Scratches
Forwards Nick Cousins (healthy) and Boyd Gordon (healthy), and defenseman Nick Schultz (healthy).

Up next
The Flyers will host the Canucks on Thursday before playing back-to-back games on Saturday at Boston and Sunday at Washington. They will get a five-day break after that.

Flyers-Sabres 5 things: Trying to solve the road woes

Flyers-Sabres 5 things: Trying to solve the road woes

Flyers (21-15-6) at Sabres (15-15-9)
7 p.m. on CSN, CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports App. Pregame Live at 6:30

The Flyers, who have lost eight of their last 10 games, will try to pick up a road win when they visit the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night at the KeyBank Center.

Here are five things you need to know for the matchup:

1. Road woes
The Flyers have not won a game away from the Wells Fargo Center since Dec. 14.

Over the past six road contests, the Flyers are 0-3-3 and have been outscored 21-8.

Buffalo may be the remedy the Flyers need. The Sabres have the second-fewest home wins in the Eastern Conference at 8-8-3 and are scoring just 2.11 goals per game at home, which ranks 29th in the NHL.

2. Simmer the star
Wayne Simmonds will take the ice as an NHL All-Star.

The Flyers’ winger was named the team’s lone representative for the game on Jan. 29 in Los Angeles, where Simmonds began his NHL career.

"It’s kind of surreal,” Simmonds said after morning skate (see story). “It makes me think when I was a young kid, watching the All-Star Games and watching all the great players who played in it. To even be mentioned in the same breath as All-Stars in the NHL, it’s pretty special and it’s a great accomplishment."

Simmonds leads the Flyers with 17 goals a year after scoring a career-high 32, and he's been a monster on the power play (eight goals, seven assists).

3. Finding the power
The Flyers’ power play is just 3 for its last 32.

However, the Sabres are tied for the NHL’s worst penalty-kill percentage at 74.3.

Maybe this is when the Flyers’ power play gets going again.

4. Keep an eye on ...
Flyers: We’re going to say Dale Weise, who is seeing ample opportunity to shake off what has been a slow and underwhelming start to his Flyers career. The winger has four points (two goals, two assists) in 37 games. He’s now playing on a line with Simmonds and Brayden Schenn.

Sabres: 2015 second-overall pick Jack Eichel is heating up. The 20-year-old center has six points (three goals, three assists) in his last six games after going pointless in his previous five.

5. This and that
• Steve Mason is 5-3-1 with a 2.37 goals-against average and .914 save percentage in nine career games against the Sabres.

• With regular starter Robin Lehner out sick, Buffalo will go with Anders Nilsson in net. He is 2-0-1 with a  2.41 goals-against average and .914 save percentage in four career games against the Flyers.

• Shayne Gostisbehere is on a 19-game goal drought.

• The Flyers are 7-1-2 in their last 10 games against Buffalo.