Remember all that concern about the Flyers’ lack of scoring depth? Well, during their five-game winning streak, the following have scored: Scott Laughton, Dale Weiss, Jordan Weal, Travis Konecny and of course, Michael Raffl (three goals).
Last night, Travis Sanheim added his name to that list with his first goal in his 28th NHL game.
Yes, more was expected from Sanheim offensively this season, but it should be noted: He did not score his first goal with the Phantoms last season until Dec.9 – his 24th game. Including that goal, Sanheim had 27 points over his final 53 games with the Phantoms. Overall he had 10 goals and 27 assists and finished plus-7 for the season.
By the way, on the ice for that goal: Weiss, Nolan Patrick and Weal.
Patrick to the rescue: There’s a good chance Brian Elliott would be featured prominently on this morning’s sports roundups. And not for the right reasons. Just a couple of minutes after his mind-numbing misplay of a puck behind his net resulted in an empty-net goals and a 1-0 Buffalo lead, Elliott did it again.
This time Patrick stepped in and got just enough of Sam Reinhert’s shot to deflect it wide.
On the ensuing rush, Travis Sanheim rolled into the slot and fired one past Sabres goaltender Robin Lehner at 4:02 to tie the game at 1.
A big swing. And relief.
Sticking it out: On the scoresheet it’s recorded simply as a save. But Brian Elliott’s outstanding stick denial of Evander Kane’s short-handed try early in the second period was necessary because Ivan Provorov’s stick had snapped back at the other end of the ice.
What Provorov did from that point on is why so many in the game rave about him now, as a 20-year-old, and what he may be capable of in the future. Skating backwards, Provorov stayed between the puck and the net, even after Kane was denied. He did just enough to get in the way until finally there was an opportunity to play the puck, first by shielding it with his body behind his own net, then subtly shoveling it with his hand to a teammate.
Did you notice: Deviating ever-so-slightly from the 1-2-2 format they employed a majority of the time in their three-game sweep out west, the Flyers early on sent two fore-checkers in deep against Buffalo’s suspect defense. The Sabres’ entered the game with 104 goals allowed and a -37 goal differential. Only Arizona, with -39, has one worse. Buffalo mustered seven shots in that period, and were outshot 14-6 in the second.
They had six in the third when Buffalo coach Phil Hously pulled Lehner with 2:03 remaining.
Elliott: Right time, right place. The number of saves – 19 — suggests Brian Elliott had an easy night, but nothing’s easy in a one-goal game. After his early gaffe and near-gaffe, Elliott made a series of outstanding saves on Kane, Rasmus Ristolainen and Marco Scandella. He made several as momentum seemed to be slipping away and most importantly perhaps, he froze the puck to stop that momentum.