Flyers Host Buffalo; Hope to End Skid
Philadelphia Flyers (11-14-1) vs Buffalo Sabres (9-13-3)
Wells Fargo Center — Philadelphia, PA
7:30 p.m. on NBCSN and 97.5 FM The Fanatic
Setting the Stage
This is the second of three meetings between these two teams. Buffalo won the previous game on January 21, handling the Flyers 5-2 in an ugly game.
The Flyers were shut out for the second time this season, losing 3-0 to Boston on Saturday. They are currently skidding on a three-game losing streak and are 1-3-0 in March. Today's game is the second of back-to-back games in which the Flyers are 2-4-0 in those games this season.
Buffalo has also lost three straight games, but two of them have been in the shootout. They have earned points in five of their last six games. They last played on Thursday, losing 3-2 in a shootout to the Devils.
What to Expect
The Flyers can either end this losing streak or they can continue to pile up the losses and further bury the playoff hopes they still have. Getting shut out and going 0-for-3 on the power play yesterday was not an indicator of their offense, which is 13th in the league as well as sixth in power play offense. Jakub Voracek is still the points leader with a team-high 12 goals, 17 assists and 29 points.
Buffalo isn't a very good team, one of the few who currently boast fewer points in the standings than the Flyers in the East. They're an atrocious team on the special team, coming in last with a 12.7% power play success rate and 21st in scoring in the league.
The Masked Men
Things are looking like Ilya Bryzgalov will finally get a break. Recently recalled Michael Leighton is expected to make the start, giving the Russian netminder a much needed rest.
Ryan Miller will most likely get the start for Buffalo. He's 9-11 with a 2.82 GAA and .915 save percentage. In his last start on March 5, Carolina lit him up for four goals on 28 shots.
Keys to the Game
1. Clear the puck. It's like a broken record with the Flyers. All three goals they allowed to Boston were due to the defense leaving Ilya Bryzgalov hung out to dry. They need to man-up Buffalo's forwards, clear loose pucks and just play responsible and sound defense. The lapses they have are what's killing them. Maybe they will play a little inspired with Leighton in net.
2. Light the Lamp. After getting shut out to Boston, Philadelphia should press early to get that quick goal. Buffalo is not a scoring team, so leaving them hanging in the game could be detrimental. Don't let Miller get into a rhythm or else he will steal the game.
3. Briere. His disappearing act is starting to worry Flyers fans. He hasn't registered a point in three straight games and has only five assists in his last nine games. The last time he scored: February 18 in the third period of a blowout against the Islanders.
“It seemed like we packed it in. If one thing goes wrong out, whether it a be bad call or the first goal on that power play where [Milan Lucic/Tyler Seguin] made a great play, you look down the bench and everyone’s heads are down.” -- Scott Hartnell after Saturday's 3-0 loss to Boston.