Following a rough weekend in which Philadelphia lost back-to-back games to the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers, the Flyers got back on track with a 4-3 win against the Buffalo Sabres Jan. 14.
Heading into their weekend match-ups against the Lightning and Rangers, the Flyers were playing some of their best hockey of the season and were sitting in second place in the Metropolitan Division. To the dismay of the home crowd, however, Philadelphia was handed its first loss at the Wells Fargo Center in two months when Tampa Bay came out with a 6-3 victory Jan. 11.
The Flyers had a quick chance to get back on the winning track as they faced the rival Rangers the next day at Madison Square Garden. But for the second day in a row, Philadelphia seemed a step behind their opponent and showed significant holes in the defense. New York goalie Henrik Lundqvist played a major role in the game, as he held the Flyers to just one goal and led the way in the Rangers’ 4-1 win.
Following a day off to regroup and refocus, the Flyers traveled to Buffalo for a matchup with the last-place Sabres. The game did not start Philadelphia’s way, as once again the Flyers had to claw their way back from an early deficit.
Cody Hodgson put the Sabres up 6:59 into the first period when he took a pass from Steve Ott and deked out Philadelphia goalie Steve Mason for the goal.
The Flyers had opportunities in the first period, including a great effort by captain Claude Giroux, but could not beat Jhonas Enroth. At 12:03 in the first, Giroux worked his way into the slot and fired a backhander toward what seemed to be an open net, but Enroth sprawled out and was able to deflect it away with his blocker.
Philadelphia broke through early in the second period on the power play. At 1:40 into the period, Jakub Voracek took a cross-ice feed from Wayne Simmonds and fired in his 13th goal of the season to tie the game.
Buffalo regained the lead at 6:27 of the third period when Matt D’Agostini recorded his second goal of the season. Steve Ott fired a pass in front of the crease that D’Agostini was able to reach out and tip past Mason.
The Flyers tied it again with 6:32 remaining in regulation. After some hard work by the Philadelphia forecheck, the puck took an odd bounce off the glass and slid through the crease. Brayden Schenn found the loose puck, spun around and netted his 12th goal of the season to bring the Flyers back.
The Flyers clearly had the momentum after tying the game, and a goaltender interference penalty by Buffalo’s Zenon Konopka gave them exactly what they needed: a power play.
With 4:47 left in the game, the Flyers grabbed the lead courtesy of Scott Hartnell. After skating to the slot, Hartnell took a feed from Simmonds and fired a high wrist shot over Enroth for his 11th goal of the season.
But the game was far from over.
Buffalo was quick to respond after the Flyers took their first lead of the game. With 3:53 remaining, Tyler Ennis beat Mason with a slap shot from the right circle to tie the score.
Vincent Lecavalier proved to be the hero in this game. The 6-foot-4-inch forward lit the lamp with just 14.8 seconds remaining in regulation to give the Flyers a 4-3 victory. The goal was Lecavalier’s first in seven weeks and it could not have come at a better time.
“It was great to see Lecavalier break out of his scoring drought with such a big goal,” Bridget Breslin, a third-year chemical engineering major said. “Hopefully the win can build some momentum going forward.”
The Flyers could not keep that momentum going, however, as they lost to the Nashville Predators Jan. 16 in a shootout by a score of 4-3. Philadelphia’s next game will be against the New York Islanders Jan. 18 at the Wells Fargo Center.