Without arguably their most valuable player, the Philadelphia Flyers looked completely out of sync Monday.
Luckily for them, they won't have much time to dwell on their first loss.
The Flyers played without Sean Couturier -- who's expected to be out for a minimum of two weeks with a rib injury-- and were drubbed 6-1 by the visiting Buffalo Sabres on Monday.
The same two teams will meet again on Tuesday in Philadelphia. The Flyers will look for their third win in four games to open the season while the Sabres will aim to level the record after dropping their first two contests last week against the Washington Capitals.
Philadelphia coach Alain Vigneault said, "We made it very clear to our team that we needed to play better than we did. We obviously didn't do that (Monday)."
After outscoring the Pittsburgh Penguins 11-5 in the opening two wins, the Flyers fell behind 5-0 on Monday and were outplayed in every aspect.
"They made us look very bad on the ice," Vigneault said.
Philadelphia goaltender Carter Hart, who earned wins in the first two games, allowed four goals on 22 shots against Buffalo and was replaced by Brian Elliott at 8:09 of the second period.
Vigneault confirmed after the game that Elliott would start against the Sabres on Tuesday.
A shortened 56-game season featuring a number of back-to-back games is likely to produce plenty of physical play -- especially if a team is soundly defeated by five goals.
Less than 24 hours later, look for a chippy game.
"There is going to be some unpleasantness on the ice from players remembering the game prior and having the opportunity to get right back at that same opponent," Vigneault said. "It should mean a lot of emotion and a lot of passion on the ice for both teams."
The Sabres played well for large stretches Monday, an improvement over their play against the Capitals.
They put together a complete game, and Sam Reinhart and Curtis Lazar each scored two goals. Taylor Hall and Jack Eichel had three assists apiece.
"Today we had our chances and we used them," Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said. "It was one of the best neutral-zone games since I've been here."
Buffalo goaltender Carter Hutton learned he would be starting shortly before the game, and he stepped up with 21 saves on 22 shots.
Goalie Linus Ullmark was scratched shortly before the game for personal reasons. Krueger said that he was unsure which goaltender would start on Tuesday.
"Hutton really has been in a good zone lately," Krueger said. "We like how he has been in practice. He has come in really good shape."
Hutton, who improved to 1-1-0 with a 3.03 goals-against average this season, has struggled with an eye ailment. He finished 12-14-4 last season with a 3.18 GAA.
Hall, who signed a one-year, $8 million deal with the Sabres in October, is looking comfortable on Eichel's line. The Hart Trophy winner in 2017-18 as the NHL's most valuable player while competing for the New Jersey Devils, Hall finished last season with the Arizona Coyotes before landing in Buffalo.
"Outstanding," Krueger said of Hall's play. "Taylor just adds such an exciting element to our team. It's something we need to continue to build on."
--Field Level Media