The Buffalo Sabres’ embarrassment was transformed into relief on Wednesday night thanks to Brandon Montour.
The Sabres thrashed the Philadelphia Flyers 6-1 to snap an NHL-record losing streak of 18 games, the longest in the league in 17 years. Buffalo, unlike their 4-3 overtime loss to the Flyers on Monday, did not blow a 3-0 third-period lead by scoring four goals in the fourth period.
In 37 seconds, Montour netted two short-handed goals, the first into an empty net.
‘It was a grueling period. When you’re on a winning streak like we were, it’s very difficult to lose. “Everyone was talking about it,” the defenceman remarked.
As it turned out, we all worked together and won the game tonight. Everyone was pleased with the outcome.
Since a 4-1 win over New Jersey on February 23, Buffalo has gone 0-15-3, their first win since then. After Pittsburgh Penguins’ 0-17-1 streak in 2003-04, it was tied for 14th longest in the league and the worst since.
The Sabres also stopped a 0-9-2 home drought, one short of matching a franchise record set during the 1990-91 season. Buffalo won for just the third time at home, and first since a 4-3 shootout win over the Devils on 30 January.
The final horn rang in a barren arena, and a line of Sabres, led by Rasmus Dahlin, formed to thank Linus Ullmark for his 31 saves. Steven Fogarty scored and assisted on his first goal of the season.
On March 17, interim coach Don Granato took over for fired coach Ralph Krueger during Buffalo’s disastrous season, which ended with the Sabres’ postseason absence reaching an NHL record-tying 10 years straight.
No doubt about it, the streak had to be broken so that everyone could go on.” Granato, on the other hand, insisted that “we had to block it out.” It was evident that they had learned from their mistakes when they worked together rather than apart.
In the first period, Sam Reinhart and Curtis Lazar both scored for Buffalo. The Buffalo Sabres answered Philadelphia’s Ivan Provorov’s goal 3:50 into the second period with goals from Tyler Fogarty and Casey Mittelstadt.
Karl-Heinz Mittelstadt’s goal, an easy one that sailed past the legs of Flyers goalie Brian Elliott after he had allowed four goals on 16 shots, sent Elliott reeling.
The Philadelphia Flyers’ inconsistency returned after a month without a win, leading to a 6-10-1 record in their last 17 games. They have fallen to fifth place in the East Division as a result of their poor form.
Ahead of Philadelphia’s next matchup, Sean Couturier stated, “No matter what, we’ve got to go on.” It’s a shame, but we’ve got a big game against the Islanders coming up. Two points are at stake, therefore we need to be prepared.”
In his career against the Sabres, Elliott, who made 29 saves on Monday and has now shut the team out twice, is now 17-3-2.
To see if third-year starter Carter Hart can break out of his season-long slump, Alex Lyon made his first outing of the season in goal. On 10 shots, he made nine saves.
Buffalo had just lost its third game in a row after having two-point leads blown in both contests. Buffalo’s two-goal lead evaporated in a 3-2 loss to Boston on Saturday.
When Couturier tied the game with 1:29 remaining on Monday, and Provorov sealed it 42 seconds into overtime, the game was done.
However, even after Provorov’s long shot from the left point ricocheted off Montour and into the net, the Sabres were able to hold on to their lead.
Buffalo’s second shot of the period found Fogarty unimpeded in front, and he buried it at the 9:42 mark after being set up alone.
For his part, Montour acknowledged waiting until the last horn sounded after what transpired on Monday.
There is no doubt about it, but the game (Monday) was over. Montour advised: “You’ll need to wash it,” he remarked. “However, it was nice to hear a zero and to win.”
In terms of the fastest consecutive short-handed goals scored by an NHL defenseman, Montour holds the record. Overall, the time of 37 seconds is the 12th fastest.
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