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game preview

Flyers return home to face Sabres

Sunday, 03.10.2013 / 11:02 AM

Associated Press

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Flyers return home to face Sabres
Buffalo Sabres vs. Philadelphia Flyers
Philadelphia Flyers (11-14-1--23pts)
vs.
Buffalo Sabres (9-13-3--21pts)

TV: NBC-SN - RADIO: 97.5 The Fanatic

1. THE MATCH UP
Tonight is the second of three meetings and first and only meeting of the season at home against the Buffalo Sabres… In the previous contest, the Sabres scored four unanswered goals to take a 5-2 victory in the second game of the season for the Flyers on Jan. 20… The Sabres comes into today's game having lost three straight games and have had their last six games decided by one goal, four of which went to a shootout… The Flyers also come in looking to snap a three-game losing skid.

2. PHILLY SPECIAL
The Flyers special teams have come up big on home-ice… They rank 3rd in the NHL on the power-play, going 28.3 percent (13-for-46) and have recorded at least a goal on the man advantage in four of their last five home games, including three games where they have recorded multiple power-play goals… On the other side, the Flyers have killed off 17 of their last 18 penalties on home ice.

3. THIS, THAT & THE OTHER
Tonight's game marks the third game in the last four days for the Flyers, and following tonight's game, the team has just three games in a 13-day span… The Sabres are 3-2-2 against the Atlantic Division this season, their best record against any division… The Flyers own a 1-5-0 record against the Northeast Division… This will be the first time the Flyers have faced the Sabres without Lindy Ruff behind the Buffalo bench since March 15, 1997… Nicklas Grossmann continues to lead the league in blocked shots with 76 on the season.

4. Player to watch FLYERS: Claude Giroux - (C) #28
Claude Giroux ranks second on the team in scoring with 24 points and is tied for the team lead in assists (17)… He has points in two of his last three games and eight of his last 10 games in which he has recorded 14 points (4g-10a) in that span… Giroux recorded a goal in the last meeting, and overall in his career has averaged over a point-per-game against the Sabres, recording 19 points (3g-16a) in 16 games.

5. Player to watch SABRES: Thomas Vanek - (LW) #26
Vanek leads the Sabres in goals (13), assists (16) and points (26) in 22 games so far for the Sabres… He has points in his last two games and despite missing the two games previous to that, Vanek is tied for 6th in the NHl with 29 points, and tied for 7th with 13 goals… In the first and only meeting of the season with the Flyers, Vanek factored into all five goals, recording two goals and three assists.

QUOTABLE
"We have a big game tomorrow night at home and we have to be flying. That's the only thing, we have to be skating, we have to be playing together, supporting each other and have each others backs, and we have to play to win."
- Scott Hartnell

The Philadelphia Flyers and Buffalo Sabres are both in last place in their respective divisions and on three-game losing streaks.

One of these teams will end its slide Sunday night when they meet in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia (11-14-1) never recovered from a bad start in Saturday's 3-0 loss at Boston. The game was scoreless midway through the first period before the Flyers yielded all three goals in a span of 2 minutes, 18 seconds.

"You look down the bench and everyone's heads were down and it just seemed like we were real deflated right from that bad, and that's not what good teams do," winger Scott Hartnell said. "It's on us to pick each other up and to support each other and just be positive and it just seemed like it was down 1-0 and it seemed like we just packed it in."

Philadelphia held a team meeting after the loss as it tries to avoid its first four-game slide in two seasons.

"It's always good when you have a meeting," captain Claude Giroux told the league's official website. "You want to make sure everybody's on the same page, and that's what we did."

While the Flyers' defeats in their streak have all come in regulation, Buffalo (9-13-3) is 0-1-2 in its last three. The Sabres have played six straight one-goal contests, and are 3-3-2 under interim coach Ron Rolston.

"You throw the first two games out, Toronto and the Islanders, in the last six, we've gotten eight points," Rolston said. "And when you look at those games, potentially we should have had 10 points of 12."

One area that remains a concern for Buffalo is a power play converting a league-worst 12.2 percent of its chances, and an Eastern Conference-low 8.7 percent on the road. That unit has scored in consecutive games for the first time under Rolston, whose team has not played since Thursday's 3-2 shootout loss at New Jersey.

"Certainly we're seeing some better things there, better puck movement, more options for the power play now and I think that's going to continue to grow," Rolston said.

Buffalo's best effort with the man advantage came in its season opener, a 5-2 victory over Philadelphia on Jan. 20. The Sabres went 3 for 6 in that game, and Tyler Myers' power-play goal broke a tie with 5:03 left.

Thomas Vanek set a career high with five points in that contest as Buffalo snapped a four-game losing streak to Philadelphia. Vanek, who has 13 points in his last seven games against the Flyers, ended a season-worst six-game drought without a goal Thursday.

Philadelphia's Jakub Voracek was held without a point Saturday for just the second time in his last 11 games. He has 19 points in that span.

Flyers coach Peter Laviolette was critical of his club's effort after it was shut out for the second time this season. Philadelphia has allowed seven straight goals since leading Pittsburgh 4-1 after one period Thursday.

"We were looking for a response from last game and that was not the response we were looking for," Laviolette said.

Andrej Sekera and former Flyers forward Ville Leino remain out for Buffalo while defenseman Jordan Leopold is close to returning after missing nine games with an upper-body injury.

2012-2013 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 13 '13PHI 0 at BUF 1C. Ehrhoff
Mar 10 '13BUF 2 at PHI 3C. Giroux
Jan 20 '13PHI 2 at BUF 5T. Myers
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
T. Vanek23131629+31860
C. Hodgson26101121-11401
J. Pominville2691019-3811
T. Ennis2671118-6810
S. Ott2631013+44710
C. Ehrhoff252810+51801
D. Stafford26279-71500
M. Foligno25189-62100
J. Hecht25257+31000
A. Sekera20156-2400
N. Gerbe22325-4800
M. Grigorenko21145-2000
T. Myers24314-62212
A. Sulzer17314+31001
J. Leopold16134-71200
M. Weber20044+04600
B. Flynn5202+1000
T. Brennan10101-1610
R. Regehr19011-21400
K. Porter9011-1600
A. Pardy5011+21000
J. Scott20000-24100
P. Kaleta18000-14600
C. McCormick8000-21000
M. Ellis6000+0000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
R. Miller249-12-3657552.83.914
J. Enroth40-2-0131013.94.871
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
J. Voracek27121729-7672
C. Giroux2781725-91242
W. Simmonds2410919-45553
B. Schenn2661319-1920
K. Timonen2731619+02820
M. Read217613-2211
D. Briere235813-8621
R. Fedotenko27178+61000
L. Schenn27257+22400
M. Talbot27257-22300
S. Couturier25257-8400
S. Gagne17257+1420
M. Knuble18246-31801
T. McGinn16325+31901
B. Coburn27145-93900
K. Foster12145+1410
Z. Rinaldo23314-47600
N. Grossmann27134+11900
S. Hartnell11134-23300
B. Gervais24123-11600
T. Sestito7202+11201
E. Gustafsson11022-5200
H. Zolnierczyk6011+03600
A. Meszaros6000-2000
S. Laughton5000+0000
E. Wellwood4000+0000
J. Shelley1000+0000
A. Lilja1000-1000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
I. Bryzgalov2512-11-1656412.77.899
B. Boucher40-2-06552.50.891
M. Leighton10-1-05265.08.808
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