Flyers overcome sluggish start, beat Sabres

Sean Couturier
Sean Couturier and the Flyers downed the Sabres Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center. Credit: Getty Images

There is no such thing as a sure two points in hockey, which the Flyers seemed determined to prove Thursday against the worst-in-the-NHL Buffalo Sabres.

You think things were bad around here for the franchise that sent its coach, Peter Laviolette, packing after just three games and was still slogging along at 4-10-1 just two weeks back? Well, it’s been even worse in upstate New York, where the Sabres have rarely been sharp, coming in 5-17-1 which also led to their coach, Ron Rolston, getting canned last week.

Yet for over a period, it was hard to tell which of these clubs was the bottom-feeder and which was riding a five-game unbeaten streak. The Sabres muscled home a late Tyler Myers first period power-play goal and seemed intent on springing the upset when they killed off a pair of 5-on-3 Flyers power plays.

A few weeks ago the Flyers might’ve meekly succumbed. But not these days, as Matt Read scored goals 1:40 apart late in the second, then Vinny Lecavalier added a third period power-play goal, before Scott Hartnell’s goal into an open net enabled them to escape with a deceiving 4-1 victory.

Ray Emery turned aside 29 shots as Philadelphia made it 5-0-1 since falling to the Devils on home ice exactly two weeks ago. Since then they’ve made it hell for everybody else and in the process have moved into the thick of the scramble for playoff positioning.

“We’re playing good hockey,” said Craig Berube, now 9-7-2 since replacing Laviolette. “There are obviously some things you can improve, like we weren¹t real happy in the first period. You have to stay on it all of the time. You can¹t take a break and there are no easy games in this league.

“There are going to be nights where you might not have the jump and the legs, and that’s where you have to be real smart out there and not turn pucks over.”

For the most part that formula paid off Thursday, as the Flyers continue to cut down on the turnovers that plagued them the first 15 games. The few times they did cough it up in this one, Emery was there to bail them out.

“He was solid again,” said Berube, who’s been giving Emery more of a workload lately, though Steve Mason remains No. 1 man in net. “He is a very good goalie and wins a lot of games.”

These days, though, it doesn’t seem to matter who’s in goal or who’s shooting the puck. The Flyers are getting the job done, with the third line of Read, Steve Downie and center Sean Couturier providing the latest spark, as they blasted a season-high 46 shots at Ryan Miller.

According to Emery it simply took awhile for the shock of a coaching change to kick in.

“It takes time to get used to some of changes that happened,” said Emery, who was also here when Laviolette replaced John Stevens and they struggled for awhile before eventually reaching the Stanley Cup Final. “It takes time to get your confidence back as a group as well.
“Most of the time guys feel kind of responsible for the coach that’s leaving the team. You want to do well for the new guy, but sometimes it takes awhile. But we have a positive feeling in the room now. That’s all that counts.”


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Muslim leaders welcome NYPD surveillance changes with degree…

Leaders and advocates praise the NYPD's move to shut down a unit tied to its Muslim surveillance program but say there's more left to do.

Local

PHOTOS: More than $12 million in heroin, crystal…

Authorities seized more than 44 pounds of heroin and 17 pounds of crystal meth from two stash houses this week during a Manhattan drug bust.

Local

How to donate during the blood drive at…

The Metro-North Railroad and New York Blood Center are hosting a blood drive at Grand Central Terminal Thursday.

Local

Bloomberg launches $50 million anti-gun violence effort

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to spend $50 million on a grassroots anti-gun violence network to challenge the National Rifle Association.

The Word

Wahlburgers announce North America domination

Tuesday was a huge day for Donnie Wahlberg.

Books

Becoming friends with New York City's oldest known…

"The Life and Times of Richard Musto" tells the story, through a poem, of the oldest known homeless man in New York City.

Movies

Interview: Johnny Depp says he looks like himself,…

Johnny Depp talks about his new sci-fi thriller "Transcendence," not wearing gaudy makeup and wigs for a change and how he's a bit of a Luddite.

Movies

Review: 'Heaven is for Real' tries to be…

The mega-bestseller "Heaven is for Real" becomes a movie that tries to portray wrestling with faith — or at least it tries to try.

NHL

Flyers, Rangers meet in playoffs for 11th time

The Flyers and Rangers will start a new chapter in a historic rivalry.

MLB

Masahiro Tanaka dominates Cubs over eight shutout innings

Masahiro Tanaka certainly had no-hit caliber stuff Wednesday as he allowed just two bunt singles.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers…

MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers and Braves right behind

NFL

Jets make Chris Johnson signing official

The Jets got their big-play threat as running back Chris Johnson signed a multi-year contract with the team on Wednesday.

Tech

5 surprising facts about Google Glass

Your sex life could get more interesting.

Wellbeing

Cognitive skills begin to drop at age 24

But the news isn't all that bad.

Career

How to get a job at a startup:…

We talked to Tarek Pertew, one of the co-founders behind Uncubed, about how to get your dream job at a startup.

Parenting

The 'smartest' summer camps across the country

See a list of summer camps across the country that emphasis learning, while still being fun.