The Philadelphia Flyers (8-10-2) will host the Buffalo Sabres (5-17-1) tonight at the Wells Fargo Center. The game will be televised on CSN Philly and is at 7pm. This is the middle game of the Flyers current three game homestand. They won the first game on Tuesday against Ottawa 5-2.
The Flyers enter tonight’s game on a hot streak. Over the last five games they are 4-0-1 and are averaging 3.6 goals per game in that span. The once dormant power play has woken up while the once dominant penalty kill has started to fade. At 5-on-5, however, the Flyers continue to be solid. They have not allowed an even strength goal over the last four games.
The Flyers sit at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division, but they hold at least one game in hand on everyone in the division and are only three points out of third place. With a win tonight in Buffalo the Flyers could jump from eighth in the division to tied for fourth (they will need help from Dallas and Detroit).
The Sabres have the worst record in the NHL and are having a rough season. Last week they fired their coach Ron Rolston and their GM Darcy Regier and hired Pat Lafontaine as the head of hockey operations and Ted Nolan as interim head coach. The Sabres beat the Maple Leafs in Nolan’s first game as head coach, but have lost their last two.
Things to look for:
-Ryan Miller vs. Ray Emery: Ryan Miller has been the lone bright spot for the Sabres this season. He may be 4-12 with a GAA of 3.18, but his SV% of .917 and his generally solid play have kept the Sabres in many games this season. Ray Emery will get the start tonight for the Flyers. After a few shaky outings to start the season Emery has calmed down over his last three starts and gone 2-1 , with a .957 SV% and one shutout in that span.
-Jakub Voracek is on a five game point streak (2g, 4a) and Wayne Simmonds is on a four game point streak (2g,2a). Brayden Schenn has six points in his last five games (3g, 3a) and Claude Giroux has five points over the last five games (2g, 3a). The Flyers offense is starting to heat up as the top two lines are producing, while the third line and defense are starting to chip in.
-Tonight’s game has all of the markings of a trap game for Philadelphia. The Flyers are on a hot streak and are facing the worst team (record-wise) in the NHL. Although the Sabres have a poor record, they still go out and fight hard every night. The Flyers are starting their back-up goalie and could be looking ahead to their next important divisional game on Saturday against the Islanders. If they want to continue to have a successful homestand, they will need to be ready to play tonight.