Braun lives up to ‘unleash the Brauner' hype by Flyers


Outside of the Flyers' locker room, Justin Braun's return to the lineup likely caused the least hype out of the four players who were back in action Saturday afternoon.

The other three players were Jakub Voracek, Scott Laughton and Oskar Lindblom, three forwards who can make plays, put the puck in the net and keep that number changing on the scoreboard.

But inside the Flyers' locker room, the excitement level for the accomplished and likable Braun was high.

"Guys were kidding around before the game to 'unleash the Brauner,'" Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said.

Braun lived up to the Flyers' hype in the team's 3-0 win over the Sabres at KeyBank Center. The Flyers have an inclusive group that likes to have fun. They were pumped to finally unleash the Brauner again for the first time in nearly three weeks. Braun, Voracek, Laughton and Lindblom all played their first game since Feb. 7 after recovering from the coronavirus.

The trio of forwards played on the same line and produced a dagger goal late in the second period as Laughton finished the highlight-worthy sequence with a silky move.

Braun did the less glamorous stuff that he has made a career out of, the stuff that the Flyers have really valued since he was acquired in a June 2019 trade. The stay-at-home defenseman quickly thwarted offensive opportunities by cutting off the Sabres' skaters with physicality and precision.

The stuff goalies love.

"He's awesome to see when they're coming down on you, he's angling and you know he's going to do his job every time, you know what you're going to get from him," Brian Elliott, who shut out Buffalo for the second time this season, said. "He's great to have back in the lineup, especially from a goaltender's perspective. His personality and his energy in the locker room, that's a big part of our team."

Despite not playing a game in 19 days, Braun was unleashed and himself. Known for his reach and active stick, Braun finished as a plus-2 in 21-plus minutes.

"I was very pleased by how Brauner played," Vigneault said. "Defensively, he's got a stick, he always finds a way to put something in front of the opponent — his body, his arm. He does kill a lot of plays and helped us 5-on-5 and helped us on the penalty killing, also."

Philippe Myers was a healthy scratch and the Flyers pitched a shutout. Once again, they have good decisions to make on the back end.

When Braun's healthy, he's an everyday guy.

"He came in and did a really good job," Laughton said. "He helped us on the PK, had a couple of backchecks where he makes huge plays, gets a stick on it and disrupts things. He's huge for our group, he's a veteran guy, he's been around, he knows what to do and great guy in the locker room. I guess we'll keep unleashing him."

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