The Flyers' trip to Buffalo would have gone more smoothly had they sailed over Niagara Falls in a barrel.
The Sabres exploded for four first-period goals to hand the Flyers a 4-2 loss Wednesday at KeyBank Center.
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The orange and black now enter Thanksgiving with a 9-10-2 mark.
Which Flyer dropped the gloves for the first time this season and how did Alex Lyon collapse in his first game of the season?
Here are my observations:
• The Sabres' top line of Jack Eichel, Jeff Skinner and Jason Pominville was in attack mode right off jump street. It was quick on the forecheck during its opening shift and the Flyers gave Eichel all sorts of room to skate into the zone on the game's first goal with a rebound leading to Skinner's 15th tally of the season.
Defensively, the Flyers couldn't slow up the Sabres' speed through the neutral zone.
• The Sabres' fourth goal was a dismal effort on a number of levels. For starters, Jakub Voracek should have disrupted the long two-line stretch pass over the red line.
Secondly, Christian Folin reached for a puck that allowed Johan Larsson to build speed and wheel completely around him in the Flyers' zone.
Finally, Lyon was completely off his angle, allowing Larsson to beat him on the short side.
A complete unacceptable goal especially considering it came in the final seconds of the first period. You can't allow that goal from Lyon's perspective here.
• Got to hand it to Scott Laughton for his attempt to rally the troops heading into the intermission. Who would have thought it would be Laughton as the first Flyer to drop the gloves this season? But at that time, the team looked completely dead in the water. If there was a perfect moment for the Flyers' first fight of the season, that was it (see story).
• If I'm Dave Hakstol, I'm rethinking whether Lyon should start one of the two back-to-back games coming up against the Rangers and Maple Leafs. While the defense in front of Lyon failed to bail him out after some big rebounds, Lyon looked uncomfortable and not ready for the challenge of a Buffalo team playing with a great deal of confidence.
Lyon really needed to secure the shot from the point, which led to Buffalo's power-play goal. Lyon was pulled after allowing four goals on 12 shots.
• Whether it was the fight or a tongue-lashing by the coach, I liked the Flyers' response in the second period.
The goal that got the Flyers on the board was all Claude Giroux and his ability to find the open seam between three defenders and then use his quick release to fire a shot that Carter Hutton never had a chance at stopping.
Giroux was one of the few forwards who came to play as he later showed off his magical stick-handling, weaving between three Sabres on the Flyers' first power play to get a shot on net. At one point, Giroux had six shots on net and no other Flyer had more than two.
• The Flyers played a more inspired effort over the final 40 minutes, limiting the Sabres to just nine shots in the last two periods, but the Sabres were never really challenged like the Lightning were back on Saturday. Buffalo did a solid job of clogging up the ice in the third period.
• My first impression of Sabres' top pick Rasmus Dahlin is the amount of composure he already possesses for an 18-year-old rookie defenseman, combined with the ease he plays the game with the puck on his stick. He does look a little small, but give him a few years before he's the complete package.
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