Checking Line Becomes The Scoring Line; Flyers Win 4-1

PHILADELPHIA -- When things are going right offensively for the Flyers, their depth in the front nine really shows.

Matt Read, Sean Couturier and Steve Downie - The Checking Line - provided some much needed fire power at the end of the second period to give the Flyers a boost en route to a 4-1 win over the Sabres on Thursday.

Read scored two goals in the span of 1 minute, 40 seconds, and Steve Downie and Sean Couturier had the primary and secondary assists respectively on both goals. The goals came in the final six minutes of the second, erasing a 1-0 Buffalo lead.

"We’re getting to know each other now and where we are going to be," Downie said. "Tonight it worked out and we are getting better.  If we want to get into playoffs we have to keep pushing.”

Downie, who is known for his grinding abilities, now has 11 assists on the season.

“I’m doing my job.  I try to push it every night.  It’s still nice to get points, getting a couple points every game."
 
The Flyers were awful in the first period, trailing to Buffalo 1-0 while only out-shooting the Sabres, 12-10. It was the first time all season Buffalo held a lead after the first period.

At some point during a sloppy, penalty-filled second period, the Flyers woke up.

Couturier won a puck battle with Steve Ott along the boards and sent a pass behind the net to Downie. Downie sent the puck into the slot and a charging Read one-timed it past Ryan Miller to tie the game up.

"The first period we [tried] to make plays going over the blue line and turning a lot of pucks over," Read said. 

"Then in the second period we just talked about getting pucks deep and being smart out there – get it behind their D and go to work. 
 
"The first goal is to get it deep and Couturier had a great play, passed it back to Downie and Downie found me in the slot. I think Miller fell down so it was kind of a lucky goal, but that’s the key to our line – to get pucks deep and go to work.”

Only 100 seconds later, the trio combined for the Flyers' go-ahead goal. 

Off the face off, Couturier won another puck battle and moved the puck to Downie. With the Sabres crashing Downie, Read was left alone in front of Miller. He received the easy pass from Downie, faked out Miller and roofed the puck past him for his second of the game and sixth on the season.

"I think as a line we played pretty good," Couturier, who now has six assists and seven points on the year, said. "We kept it simple. A couple pucks deep and won some battles and Reader finished off two nice plays there."

The Flyers kept up the pressure heading into the third period. They out-shot the Sabres, 34-20 in the final two periods, out-scoring them 4-0.

Vincent Lecavalier tacked onto his team-high goals total with his eighth of the year midway through the third. He blasted a one-timer on the powerplay from above the circle to make it 3-1.

With 11 seconds to play, Scott Hartnell added an empty netter to seal the Flyers fifth win in their last six games. They have earned 11 out of 12 possible points during that span.

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John Russo
Editor; Featured Writer
Twitter: @Roose_TCL@TCLFlyers
Email: russo@thecheckingline.com