By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun
PHILADELPHIA—Coming into Thursday night’s game, the Flyers (9-10-2) had lost all seven games in which their opponent scored the game’s first goal.
During a lackluster first period for the home team, Buffalo Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers, in a scrum near the Flyers net, somehow got a shot past goalie Ray Emery to give his team a 1-0 lead. A few weeks ago that goal would have been the kiss of death for a Flyers team that was struggling to score.
But the early Buffalo goal only served to wake the Flyers up as they did all the scoring the rest of the way in a 4-1 win over the Sabres in front of a sell-out crowd at the Wells Fargo Center. The Flyers are 5-0-1 in their last six games and have outscored their opponents 22-8.
“After that (first period) we kept at it and kept it at and we finally got a couple in the second,” Emery said.
After struggling in the first period, the Flyers seized control of the game in the second period thanks to their No. 3 scoring line which consisted of right winger Matt Read, who scored the team’s first two goals, Steve Downie and center Sean Couturier, who got assists on those two scores.
“The third line played great,” said Flyers head coach Craig Berube. “It’s nice to get balanced scoring for sure. When you can have everybody chipping in, it goes a long way.”
Read scored the Flyers first goal with 6:53 left in the second period on a pass from Downie. A little over a minute later, Couturier stole the puck from Sabres defenseman Henrik Tallinder and passed it to Downie who circled around the net and found Read in front of the net who shot the puck past goalie Ryan Miller.
“As a line, we played pretty good,” Couturier said. “We kept it simple, put puck deeps and won some battles. Read finished two nice plays there.”
Read said he, Downie and Couturier often meet about getting deep in the scoring zone and getting the puck to the net and they’re doing a good job of developing chemistry with each other.
“Couturier, Downie and I are having fun out there,” Read said. “We’re doing the simple things and not turning pucks over, just making things happen. The key to our line is to get pucks deep and go to work. Things just went our way tonight, but we have three or four solid lines. Any given night, any line can score. It’s fun to play when all four lines are cooking like that.”
After the second period, the Flyers kept the pressure on the Sabres in the third period. With 10:02 left in the game, Vincent LeCavalier’s goal upped the margin to 3-1. Scott Hartnell added another on an empty-netter with 11 seconds left in the game. For the game, the Flyers outshot the Sabres (5-18-1) 46 to 30.
Meanwhile, Emery had a solid night in goal for the Flyers. He had 29 saves while upping his record to 3-3 on the season. That was something that was not lost on Berube.
“Ray was solid again. He’s done a really good job. He’s a very good goalie,” Berube said. “He wins a lot of games. He goes in there and wins games. Like I say again, he was solid.”