Everything you need to know ahead of Flyers’ clash with struggling Sabres

The Flyers will be searching for their season-best ninth consecutive victory when they host the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday. After a dominating win Thursday night over the Hurricanes, the Flyers have now won eight straight, scoring at least four goals in each game.

Game two of a three-game home skid will kick off Saturday night, as the struggling Buffalo Sabres come to the Wells Fargo Center. Coach Alain Vigneault, a surefire candidate for NHL’s coach of the year, needs to rally his troops with the NHL-best Boston Bruins creeping into town Tuesday night.

But for now, the Flyers need to focus on one game at a time. Buffalo travels to Philly to participate in a 7 P.M. showdown. Coverage begins at 6:30 on NBCSports Philadelphia.

The Flyers are heavy -240 favorites with the over/under set at six goals.

Injury Reports:

Per TSN.com

Flyers:

N. Patrick, CSep 12, 2019IRMigraine disorder
S. Morin, DNov 6, 2019IRTorn right ACL
O. Lindblom, LWDec 10, 2019IRIllness
J. van Riemsdyk, LWMar 3, 2020day-to-dayFractured hand – left game

Sabres:

M. Hunwick, DSep 12, 2019IRNeck
V. Sobotka, RWNov 7, 2019IRKnee – left game
T. Thompson, RWNov 16, 2019IRShoulder – left game
L. Ullmark, GJan 27, 2020day-to-dayLower-body injury – left game

It’s uncertain whether the Sabres will have Zemgus Girgensons or Lawrence Pilut in the lineup Saturday night. Girgensons and Pilut missed practice Friday for maintenance and illness, respectively. They’re expected to be game-time decisions, according to coach Ralph Krueger.

Home, Sweet Home

Following Thursday night’s win, the Flyers extended their home record to a whopping 24-5-4. They have not lost a game in South Philly since February 6th, a 5-0 loss to the Devils. However, for the entire team, their home has been a safe haven.

“Our crowd was really good (Thursday). I had chills a couple times,” said Scott Laughton, who had a pair of assists and now has nine points in the last six games. “They were really loud and behind us the whole night. It was lots of fun to play. They gave us some energy, for sure.”

Wells Fargo Center has treated probable goaltender Carter Hart well this season as well. The youngster has a 19-2-2 record on home ice, with a mere 1.64 GAA (.942 save %). Earlier this season, Hart picked up a one-goal win against Buffalo as well, with their lone goal being on the powerplay. Because of his stellar goaltending, it allows the guys in front of him to play much more confident as well. With Hart in the net at the Wells Fargo Center, the Flyers average just under four goals per contest.

Know Your Enemy:

Buffalo Sabres

After being swept on a four-game road trip, the Sabres returned home only to lose 4-2 to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Over their five-game losing skid, the Sabres have failed to even record an overtime/shootout loss. Star captain Jack Eichel hasn’t registered a point in six straight games, the longest streak in his five-year career. Eichel still can do some damage, accumulating 35 goals and 42 assists for 77 points on the season.

Buffalo’s four-game road losing streak does not come as a surprise. On the season, they only scrounged together a 10-19-4 road record.

Prediction

As hinted above, and as crazy as this may sound, this is a must-win for the Flyers. With games against Boston, Tampa, Minnesota, Edmonton, and St. Louis all around the corner, this is a game they must capitalize on.

The key to this game will be scoring first. This may come as an obvious, however, Buffalo has failed to record a win when their opponent scores first on the road (0-11-4). On the flip side, the Flyers are 27-7-4 when scoring first, with a 19-2-2 at home when scoring first. With this, the Flyers are 11-0-1 at home when leading after the first period, and 18-0-2 when leading after two in South Philly.

Moral of the story, the Flyers need to, and should, win this one. Assuming their hot streak continues, they will score early and often. Hopefully, Pittsburgh can topple the Caps in regulation today, and the Flyers will sit alone atop the Metro come 11 PM tonight.

Flyers win 5-2.

Photo Credit: Alex Mcintyre

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