The Philadelphia Flyers have turned the tables following a 10-game skid, with a 2-1 triumph over the Buffalo Sabres on Dec. 14 serving as part of their current 7-1-0 stretch. The Flyers look to continue their good fortune on Friday at the expense of the reeling Sabres, who have dropped three in a row and 16 of 19 (3-11-5).
“When we went through that streak we were finding ways to lose games,” said Dale Weise, who scored in Philadelphia’s 4-3 win over Detroit on Wednesday. “Now we’re sitting here 7-1 in our last eight and we’re finding ways to win games when we don’t play complete games. That’s what I think good teams do.” Brian Elliott turned aside 25 shots while making his ninth straight start and stopped 19 shots in the first encounter versus Buffalo. The Sabres were limited to a fluke goal in that meeting with Philadelphia and were blanked 3-0 by Boston on Tuesday, two strong examples why the team sports the 31st-ranked offense (2.1 goals per game). Buffalo also carries around another troublesome number of four, which represents its total home wins this season.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, NBCSN Philadelphia, Sportsnet, MSG-B (Buffalo)
ABOUT THE FLYERS (15-12-7): Captain Claude Giroux set up three goals against the Red Wings to increase his point total to 11 (two goals, nine assists) in his last seven games. The 29-year-old Ontario native has 26 even-strength points in 34 games this season to match his total set over 82 games of his much-maligned campaign in 2016-17. “It got a little personal, yeah,” Giroux said of the criticism he endured. “I try not to read too many things, but there wasn’t a lot of positive articles in the summer, and I took that as motivation. I wanted to push myself to be the best player I can be.”
ABOUT THE SABRES (8-19-7): Robin Lehner turned heads during Thursday’s practice by donning former NHL goaltender Paul Harrison’s old mask from the late 1970s and six games during the 1981-82 season. “It was an old Buffalo mask. I tried it on and I have a lot of respect for them,” the 26-year-old Swede told the Buffalo News. “I took one off the dome and it felt pretty good. We’ll see if we can beef it up.” Evander Kane, who leads the team in goals (14), assists (17) and points (31), has eight points (two goals, six assists) in his last eight games.
1. Philadelphia RW Wayne Simmonds has seven points (four goals, three assists) in the past eight games.
2. The Sabres assigned F Alexander Nylander to the Swedish men’s national junior hockey team for the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship, which will be held in Buffalo from Dec. 26-Jan. 5.
3. Elliott owns a 7-2-0 mark with a 2.11 goals-against average and .926 save percentage over his last nine starts.
PREDICTION: Sabres 3, Flyers 1