BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Not since the 2006 Eastern Conference finals had the Sabres lost in their “goat head” getup. Beaten for the first time in six games sporting their throwback threads, an impressive black and red scoring streak ended with the Sabres getting whitewashed for the first time this season.
The 4-0 loss against Philadelphia on Monday night ended Buffalo’s remarkable run in the retro sweaters. The Sabres rose to the occasion with six goals and a victory in each of the previous outings when dressed in the club’s 1996-2006 color scheme.
The Sabres (20-16-2) had risen to the fringes of playoff contention by winning eight of nine. They were the NHL’s highest-scoring team averaging four goals per game, with 43 in the past 10 at home, including each of those “goat head” six packs.
Without any goal support, Craig Anderson couldn’t stand up to the task by himself. Anderson stopped 34 of 38 shots, just barely posting a save percentage below .900 for the fifth time in 15 appearances during his 20th season.
Philadelphia goalie Samuel Ersson made 28 saves in his first NHL shutout. The Flyers (16-8-7) went ahead 2:35 into the game and scored twice more in the first period to win for the fifth time in six games.
Getting out-shot 16-5 in falling behind 3-0, Sabres captain Kyle Okposo called it “probably the worst period we’ve played all year. You try and learn from it. We try and get going in the second and third. I just think the emotional toll of that first period was a little bit too much for us to come back from. Just disappointing with how we’ve been playing. Just a little bit of immaturity on our part.”
Following emotionally charged victories in front of consecutive sellout crowds at KeyBank Center, the Sabres received smatterings of boos after all three periods from the 11,271 in attendance on Monday night.
“It felt like we were emotionally drained,” Sabres coach Don Granato said. “Which can make sense after being emotionally high as we were riding the last week with a lot of thrilling games and a lot of different scenarios for our guys and different stress, different challenges.”
There also was last week’s overtime win in Washington, when the Sabres closed out a three-game road trip with heavy hearts the night after Bills safety Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest.
“Very emotional games,” Granato said. “Today looked like an emotional letdown. It’s part of things and learning to handle it, learning to find a way to push through it. There wasn’t anybody who looked like themselves. Craig didn’t look like himself at the start but he battled. These guys have been good so you’ve got to support them through this and they’ll fight hard tomorrow.”
Buffalo returns to home ice Tuesday night against Seattle, and hosts Winnipeg on Thursday.