A back and forth battle ensued on Saturday night, but the Philadelphia Flyers edged out the Buffalo Sabres by a 4-3 score at the First Niagara Center.
On the heels of a nine game losing streak, the Sabres were looking to end their three game homestand with a victory, but a pair of Flyers goals in the third period were too much to overcome.
Chris VandeVelde Michael Raffl scored within three minutes of each other to increase the Philadelphia lead to 4-2.
Zemgus Girgensons was once again a bright spot for Buffalo, tallying two goals on the night in just under 20 minutes of playing time. He cut the deficit in half in the final minutes of play as the Sabres pulled their goaltender in favor of the extra attacker.
“I think we gave a way better effort,” Girgensons said. “We worked way harder. We wanted this one, it’s just we made mistakes that shouldn’t have been made.
The Sabres have now dropped 10 straight games in regulation, and paired with Edmonton’s shootout win over Florida, Buffalo falls to 30th overall in the league standings. The 10 consecutive losses without a point is now a franchise record.
Ted Nolan has been making a point that players are going to have to work and earn their spots, and another sign was shown tonight as Cody Hodgson, Phil Varone and Drew Stafford saw limited ice time.
“As long as the energy there and the compete level’s there, that’s all you can ask,” Nolan said. “We’re taxing a lot of guys. A lot of guys are playing a lot of minutes that shouldn’t be playing a lot of minutes.The other guys weren’t going very good. We have to send a message to the guys, ‘If you don’t want to work, you won’t play.’”
Michal Neuvirth received the start in goal and stopped 28 of the 32 shots he faced, but took the loss as his record fell to 3-13-1.
The road ahead doesn’t get any easier for the Sabres. They open up a five game road trip on Sunday, and then will head west for three games out there.
The Sabres are right back in action Sunday evening against the Red Wings. That game is scheduled for an 8 p.m. faceoff and the game can be seen on NBCSN.