By Harvey Hoffman
Sam Reinhart and Curtis Lazar had two goals apiece to lead the Buffalo Sabres to their first win of the season, 6-1 over the Flyers.
Carter Hutton stopped 21 shots against a Flyers team that had scored 11 goals as they won their first two games. Nicolas Aube-Kubel spoiled the shutout bid with 2:05 left.
Minus injured No. 1 center Sean Couturier (ribs), the Flyers played with little energy and failed to create many scoring chances. The Sabres scored four goals before the midpoint of the second period and chased Carter Hart after he faced 22 shots.
”If I’m a player and if I’m part of the coaching staff, which I am, I’m embarrassed by how we played tonight and I’m happy we can get right back at it tomorrow and prove what kind of team we are,” Flyers coach Alain Vigneault said.
Buffalo goalie Linus Ullmark sat out for personal reasons and that opened the door for Hutton to get his second start this season. Hutton went 12-14-4 last season and endured an 0-8-4 midseason stretch while dealing with an eyesight issue that required treatment to correct.
Reinhart and Lazar did enough to help the Sabres accomplish a couple of things they haven’t done well of late: win on the road, and win in Philly. The Sabres went 10-20-4 on the road last season, and were 0-6-1 in their last seven games in Philly since 2014.
”We’re just really pleased to get a confirmation of the process,” Krueger said.
Taylor Hall, the NHL’s 2018 MVP and a six-time 20-goal-scorer, had three assists for the Sabres. Hall signed a one-year, $8 million contract with Buffalo and has quickly fit in on the top line centered by captain Jack Eichel.
Eichel also had three assists as the Sabres denied the Flyers their first 3-0 start since 2011.
The Sabres, an afterthought these days on the Buffalo sports scene behind the Bills, had scored only five goals in their first two games. Lazar’s backhander over Hart in the first clanged off the pipes and reverberated throughout the mostly empty arena.
Reinhart went back-to-back in the second, scoring his first goal from one knee off a pass across the crease from Hall and his second alone in the slot. Reinhart had his 10th career multigoal game.
Lazar sparked the fourth line again when he pumped his second goal into an empty net with Hart’s back turned for a 4-0 lead.
”We’re a simple line but we’re doing the dirty work and going to get pucks to the nets,” Lazar said.
Henri Jokiharju made it 5-0 in the third and Victor Olofsson added a power-play goal in the final minute to cap the scoring.