Sabres set to finish road trip in Philly

In their second meeting of the season, the Sabres look to go 2-0 against the Flyers in their continued season series, but this time they will have to do so in the dreaded Wachovia Center in Philly.  In their last meeting in Buffalo, Thomas Vanek put on a clinic by getting a point on all five goals, leading to a 5-2 win.  His hot streak has tailed off and only has two goals since February 10th.

Arguably the best line for the Sabres in their last game vs New Jersey was the Amerks line. Marcus Foligno and Kevin Porter grinded hard to help Brian Flynn get his first NHL goal. It looked like he would get his first career game-winning goal also until Patrik Elias slipped one past Jhonas Enroth with 1:06 left in the third.

This would have been Enroth’s first win in 15 months, but an unfortunately timed cramp took him out of the game after the Elias goal.  Despite the loss, he played a solid game with 27 saves on 29 shots.

The Flyers are coming into this match-up on a three game losing streak. They gave up a 3 goal lead to Pittsburgh on Thursday and got shut out against Boston yesterday afternoon. Philly is 5-5-0 in their last ten and currently sit in 11th in the East with 23 points, only two ahead of Buffalo.

Goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov has been a wild card so far this season, having an .899 save percentage and a 2.80 goals against average. Backup netminder Brian Boucher has not performed well this season either, going 0-2 so far with an .891 save percentage. It would not be surprising to see Boucher get the start to shake things up after the Bruins bruising from yesterday.

Matt Read and Nicklas Grossman returned to the lineup during the week, making the Philly squad almost fully healthy. Defenseman Andrej Meszaros suited up for the first time since January 24 on Saturday, being activated off IR with a shoulder injury.  In his absence, new addition Luke Schenn filled in effectively on the top defensive pairing with Kimmo Timonen.

The Sabres should be watching out for the Flyers powerplay tonight. They have a 22.6 PP% (6th in the league) and the first unit features team scoring leader Jakub Voracek on the point with Giroux, Hartnell, and Simmonds up front.

It’s time for both of these teams to get serious about the playoffs. Neither team is down and out but the midpoint of the season has come and gone, and both are not in the top 8 in the East. Expect high intensity battles during and after the whistle tonight. Catch the game at 7:30 on the NBC Sports Network.


Adam Baker
Adam Baker
Born and raised in Williamsville, NY
[td_block_social_counter facebook="BuffaloHockeyCentral" twitter="BHCdotcom" custom_title="Follow BHC:" header_color="#002654" open_in_new_window="y"]