Ersson gets 1st shutout as Flyers pick up one of their most impressive wins


A night after their morale took a heavy punch at home, the Flyers proved they're at least a different team from recent past.

They put some resolve and growth on display in a 4-0 win Monday night over the Sabres at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York.

Samuel Ersson answered the bell in net, picking up his first career NHL shutout.

The Sabres, scoring an NHL-best four goals per game, were blanked for the first time this season.

With first-period markers from Zack MacEwen, Joel Farabee and Noah Cates, the Flyers (16-18-7) ambushed Buffalo, which had entered red-hot at 8-1-0 over its last nine games.

Wade Allison finished the scoring with a goal early in the third period.

Travis Konecny didn't find the back of the net for the first time in the last seven games, but he was very good. With two assists, he extended his point streak to nine games, a stretch in which he has nine goals and eight helpers.

The Flyers went 0-3-0 against the Sabres last season. Buffalo's burgeoning star Tage Thompson had five goals in the three meetings.

On a torrid run with 30 goals in his last 30 games, Thompson was quieted Monday night. The Flyers held him to two shots.

The matchup marked the Flyers' first meeting with the Sabres (20-16-2) this season. The clubs meet two more times: March 17 and April 1, with both games in Philadelphia.

• This game had red flags all over it.

The Flyers had just been worked the night before, 6-2, by the Maple Leafs. They had to travel to upstate New York, face the NHL's top goal-scoring club and do so with a record of 0-6-0 in the second game of back-to-back sets.

But they quickly quelled the bad feeling from Sunday night with a loud response in the first period. This was a strong building block type of performance because they didn't let past trends continue.

No, the Flyers aren't exactly contending or tanking, but they need to create a foundation this season. And responding to ugly losses is an important aspect of developing young players, developing an identity and trying to, ultimately, develop a winner.

Last season, there was probably no way the Flyers win this game, let alone do it in the fashion in which they did.

Right now, they're 5-1-0 in their last six games. They've scored four or more goals in all five victories.

• Ersson made a monstrous save with the Flyers nursing a 1-0 lead about midway through the first period.

Just after the Flyers came up empty on a power play, they had no one back as Peyton Krebs took the puck the other way all alone.

Ersson impressively denied Krebs' breakaway attempt. Who knows where the game goes if Buffalo knots it up there.

But Ersson steadied the waters, kept his team in front and the Flyers rewarded him with two more goals that period.

The 23-year-old rookie was outstanding against one of the NHL's most dangerous offensive clubs. And the Flyers helped him, defending much harder compared to their effort Sunday and giving the Sabres just one power play opportunity.

Ersson finished with 28 saves. He's 4-0-0 with a 2.30 goals-against average and .924 save percentage on the season.

He has fueled competition in the Flyers' net.

Craig Anderson, Buffalo's 41-year-old veteran netminder, stopped 34 of the Flyers' 38 shots. 

• The Flyers reached the halfway point of the season at 16-18-7. At the midway mark last season, they lost badly to the Sabres, 6-3, in the same building, giving them a 13-20-8 record. They were mired in a franchise-worst 13-game losing streak.

• Nick Seeler was in pain after blocking a shot on a third-period Buffalo power play with 5:18 minutes remaining.

He appeared to be OK.

• After a day off Tuesday, the Flyers are back in action Wednesday when they host the Capitals (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

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