It is over. It is finally over.
After going 18 consecutive games (0-15-3) without winning, the Buffalo Sabres are finally — finally! — back in the win column thanks to a 6-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night.
It not only ended what has been a miserable month of March, but it also helped to erase the sour taste that had to exist from Monday’s game where the Sabres allowed a three-goal third period lead to slip away to extend their winless streak.
This is is Buffalo’s first win since a 4-1 win over the New Jersey Devils on February 23, and its first win against a team other than New Jersey since January 26 (New York Rangers).
The other notable element of this win is that it is the first win for interim coach Don Granato.
After weathering a big storm and push from the Flyers early in the second period, the Sabres were able to respond with two more goals to build a three-goal lead going into the third period. Steven Fogarty played a big role in that second period effort by scoring his first career goal and then setting up a Casey Mittelstadt goal.
While the win ends a lot of frustration for the Sabres and their fans, it has to create an entirely new level of frustration for the Flyers.
They entered the day on the outside of the playoff picture in the East Division and are not in a position where they can be giving away points. It is the second game in a row they found themselves down by three goals to Buffalo, and instead of mounting a furious rally in the third period they just crumbled down the stretch. The Flyers have been trending in the wrong direction for a while now and are just 5-9-1 in their past 15 games. Only two of those five wins during that stretch has come in regulation, while they have also lost four games by at least five goals. Their problems run a lot deeper than Carter Hart’s struggles at the moment.
Things do not get any easier for them as their next five games are against the New York Islanders and Boston Bruins.