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Owen Tippett’s hat trick carries Flyers to 5-2 win over Sabres

PHILADELPHIA — Owen Tippett took control of the Wells Fargo Center on Friday night, leading his team to a 5-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres with his first career hat trick.

Things could have gone south for the Flyers when they went on the penalty kill early against the league’s fourth-best power play. Tippett, a new face on the unit, helped it survive the two short-handed minutes. That gave the Flyers momentum, and they started to control the pace of play as Tippett generated multiple opportunities off the rush.

Tippett wasn’t able to turn any of those breakaways into points, but, when the Flyers went on the power play, he capitalized, scoring his sixth power-play goal of the season and his first of the night.

That set the tone for the Flyers’ dominant second period. Joel Farabee scored on a rebound four minutes in. Tippett then scored again off a feed from Kevin Hayes. With the goal, he became the team’s second 20-goal scorer this season, behind Travis Konecny (27). It also was his third multi-goal game of the season.

James van Riemsdyk added another goal in the final minutes to give the Flyers a 4-0 lead going into the third.

However, the Flyers also had three guys in the box going into the third. When Laughton took a penalty, there were four players in the box, and the Sabres’ power play capitalized with a Victor Olofsson goal, scored just over two minutes in.

Any momentum the Sabres could have gotten from that goal was buried under the hats that rained onto the ice after Tippett scored the Flyers’ fifth goal on a breakaway, set up by a flipped pass from Tony DeAngelo.

The Sabres had the final word with a second power-play goal.

A drop in the drought

For the first time since March 1, the Flyers scored a power-play goal. They’d had 12 opportunities across the five games since then, but every unit combination came up with nothing. Their power play fell to 14.9%, the worst success rate in the league.

Friday, the Flyers’ league-worst power play had the advantage of matching up against the league’s second-worst penalty kill. They stuck two defensemen — York and DeAngelo — up top along with Noah Cates, Tyson Foerster, and Tippett.

York’s quick redirect from center ice to Tippett at the left faceoff circle helped catch Sabres goalie Craig Anderson off guard, and Tippett scored with a wrist shot to end the drought.

Simply dirty

There are two things that Farabee tries to revert to when he’s struggling offensively: He goes back to a simple game, and he finds dirty areas. The 23-year-old winger, who’s been a contributor since he was 19, has had ups and downs, but the ups flashed skill and speed. But in his longest “down” of his young NHL career, he cut the flash and went back to the basics.

Paired with veteran Kevin Hayes, who’s known for his playmaking abilities, and rookie Tyson Foerster, who’s known for his shot, Farabee went straight to the net. In the second period, he finally broke through. After passing to Foerster on a 2-on-1, he gathered the rebound of Foerster’s shot from behind the net and scored. It was Foerster’s first NHL point and Farabee’s first goal in 26 games.

Seeing the ice

While the goals were exciting, they were created by just as impressive passes. Tippett’s power-play goal was set up by a no-look feed from York at the point. Farabee helped set up his own goal when he cut through two Sabres defensemen to create a shot for Foerster. He then capitalized on the rebound. Hayes created the third goal when he spun around from below the right face off circle and connected cross-ice with Tippett at the left faceoff circle. Laughton followed his own rebound and sent it backdoor for van Riemsdyk’s goal.

DeAngelo’s assist on the fifth goal was the feather in their caps. After Laughton won a defensive-zone faceoff, Nick Seeler sent a quick pass to DeAngelo, who was behind the goal line. He flipped it through the air into the neutral zone where Tippett collected it and scored on an open breakaway.

What’s next

The Flyers host the Carolina Hurricanes at 5 p.m. Saturday.

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This story was originally published March 17, 2023, 10:24 PM.

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