It took eight games, but the Flyers finally got a regulation 3-2 win against the Bruins on Saturday afternoon. A hard fought, tight-checking, penalty killing victory that keeps the diehard fans engaged for another day.
The Flyers have a pulse.
A win this afternoon against the last-place yard sale Buffalo Sabres can determine if it is faint or strong.
Expect a call from the divorce lawyer’s tomorrow morning, because we got back-to-back weekend matinees.
HERE ARE YOUR FLYERS/SABRES 3 STORYLINES:
The Flyers have not strung together any sort of sustained winning streak this season. The last back-to-back wins came against the Rangers and Sabres on February 27th and 29th.
The next game became the lowest point in a season of low points with a 6-1 loss to this Sabres team.
The pulse, the season, the momentum of yesterday’s win against the Bruins has to get followed up with another structured performance against a rested Sabres team.
Can the Flyers get a fast start so they are not chasing the game?
Will the Flyers come out with the urgency and attention to details after playing three games in four nights?
Can they actually string together two wins in a row to keep the momentum going?
Killing ‘em Softly
The Flyers special team has been the subject of much – very warranted – criticism this season.
The PP is middle of the road but has not clicked and flat out failed during vital moments of games.
The PK has been one of the worst in the leagues.
However, the past two games the PK has been the game saver for the Flyers. A switch from “box” to “diamond” scheme could certainly take credit as it helps limit the fatal cross-ice passes.
From killing off the Morin five-minute-major, to the third-period strong kills against the Bruins, the PK has come through and the results have been strong.
Can the Flyer’s strong PK trend continue to snuff out a fragile Buffalo team?
Buffalo just Winging It
The Sabres have been a wreck this season with a 9-25-6 record coming into Sunday’s game.
The organization continues to be in-flux:
- Head coach Ralph Kruger was fired in March
- Monday’s trade deadline has come early for the Sabres with Defenseman Brandon Montour getting shipped to Florida for a pick
- Trade rumors continue to swirl around Taylor Hall and it is unclear if he will be in the lineup.
- Jack Eichel has been M.I.A for the better part of a month.
The Sabres are now staffed with a young team looking to make a mark in the NHL. While the talent may not be there, the energy and effort likely will.
Arguably, the only positives for the Sabres this year have been their two 6-1 victories over the Flyers. The Flyers cannot settle on the Sabres just by looking at their record.
They tried that dance on March 31st and got destroyed.
The Flyers will need to jump on this young team early and smother them with the recent forecheck and defensive structure.
If not, the longer the Sabres hang around in the game, the more confidence the young team will get which could lead to an interesting game.
Photo Credit – Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire