The Buffalo Sabres are on the road tonight as they visit the Philadelphia Flyers for the first meeting between the two teams this season.
Buffalo enters tonight’s contest on a cold streak following their uplifting win in Ted Nolan’s debut as interim head coach last Friday. The Sabres have dropped their last two games, most recently on Tuesday night in a 4-1 home loss to the St. Louis Blues.
It may have been expected that Buffalo would have trouble with St. Louis, but the showcased continued bad habits for the Sabres that remain unsettling. It was the 11th contest this year that Buffalo has scored one goal or less, an ugly statistic that has contributed to Buffalo sitting dead last in the entire NHL for goals per game.
The Sabres also fell flat on the power play, failing to capitalize on their two man-advantage situations over the course of the game. Buffalo has now scored just ten goals on 67 opportunities after 23 games this season.
Changes in the roster have potential to ignite certain parts of Buffalo’s game. Center Luke Adam and defenseman Brayden McNabb were recalled from Rochester this week, taking over for Rasmus Ristolainen and Johan Larsson, both of which were sent down to develop in the AHL. Ristolainen and Larsson combined for one goal and one assist while playing for the Sabres.
Adam comes back to the Buffalo roster after an apparent rejuvenation with the Amerks. The 23-year-old center scored 13 goals and added five assist in 15 games with Rochester. His 13 goals were tied for most in the AHL at the time of his recall.
McNabb also looked impressive in Rochester. The six-foot-five defenseman scored two goals, added ten assists and claimed a +5 rating before being summoned back to Buffalo.
The Sabres may not be in for as tough of a fight as they were Tuesday night, but they still have a stiff challenge on their hands in the resurgent Philadelphia Flyers. After going 3-9-0 to start the season, the Flyers have collected points in seven of their last eight games, compiling a 5-2-1 record. Their most recent outing saw them decimate the Ottawa Senators in a 5-2 victory inside their home arena.
Perhaps the biggest rebound comes in the form of their netminders, Ray Emery and Steve Mason. Since the Flyers infamous 7-0 loss to the Washington Capitals that saw a rink-wide brawl—including Emery’s controversial fight with Braden Holtby—Emery has allowed just four shots past him in three starts. Mason has given up just eight goals in five games since then.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 P.M. from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Fans can catch the action on MSG or listen in through WGR 550.