Both teams seem to be sending a lot of long shots at the net. Like o-zone to o-zone long. Odd. This would be very risky if either Bob or Enroth suddenly turned into goalies with mad puckhandling skills.
Though Bob isn’t spending much time outside his net, he seems very calm about softly handing the puck over to his incoming skaters. I say softly because he doesn’t send it far, his miniaturized passes are like whispers.
Both teams seem tentative in the first period. I don’t mind. Watching them, I decide that I don’t care if the Flyers shine. I just want a nice steady game, full of sensible decisions, careful puck management, reasonable shots.
That seems like a good plan to get a fretful team back on track. So far, so good. 4 minutes to go in the 1st.
I see a very encouraging stat regarding the 1st period: faceoffs are 15-3 Flyers.
No penalties for either team, and no grossly missed calls that I see either.
The second starts badly, with the Sabres scoring to tie the game. The Flyers respond with a nice shift in the Sabres’ zone for Giroux, Carter and Zherdev.
That’s followed by a breakdown, leaving Bob one on one with Pominville. The Sabres take the lead, then get the first power play when Powe sends the puck out of play from the d-zone.
Things look grim. Instead, the Flyers take some penalty killing time in the Sabres’ zone, then on a second short handed chance, Versteeg ties it up. Seconds later, Briere scores to give the Flyers the lead again.
Things seem much brighter now.
The Flyers end the 2nd with a few games of catch, cautiously protecting their lead. This leads to a last second breakaway and a chance for Bob to make up for that second goal. He stops it, leaving a rebound that the Flyers clean up for him.
The Sabres start the 3rd with a new goalie, Miller steps in to stop the bleeding before it becomes a hemorrhage. The Sabres respond with some aggressive offense.
It seems to me that Syvret, recently called up to the Flyers, makes good decisions.
The Flyers get their first power play almost half way through the 3rd. They quickly give up a short handed chance but clean it up. In general they have trouble setting anything up. They get a couple of chances but they come to naught.
The Sabres are bolstered by that and a crazy 360 spin backhand from Girbe at the blue line gets by Bob. He never seemed to see it. I don’t really blame him, I can hardly believe I did see it.
Tie game, less than 9 minutes to go.
Very little else happens in that period, aside from a very good missed opportunity for Giroux and some very conspicuous stalling during the last few seconds of regulation by the Sabres.
They only needed one point to clinch a playoff spot. That should have made them all giddy and sloppy in OT.
It didn’t. Maybe the thought if a shootout against Miller scared the Flyers so much that they couldn’t think at all.
Sabres score, Flyers lose.
Still, I think the Flyers had 45-50 good minutes in that game. I will take it.