Sean Couturier scored two goals and Shayne Gostisbehere and Ivan Provorov each scored one goal, leading the Philadelphia Flyers past the Buffalo Sabres, 4-1, Sunday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
Backup goaltender Michal Neuvirth started for the first time since Nov. 28 and earned the win with 30 saves on 31 shots on goal. Brian Elliott had started the previous 16 games.
The Flyers won their third game in a row and improved to 19-15-8 to pull even with the Carolina Hurricanes for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Hurricanes have played one fewer game than the Flyers.
Philadelphia is 3-1-0 in January after falling 5-1 to the Pittsburgh Penguins to open the month.
Ryan O’Reilly scored for the Sabres, who continue to struggle in falling to 10-23-9.
The Sabres pulled goaltender Robin Lehner for the final two minutes, but the plan backfired as Couturier notched his second goal of the game on an empty net with 1:15 remaining.
After a scoreless first period, the Sabres struck quickly in the second when O’Reilly notched his 10th goal of the season with an impressive slap shot over Neuvirth’s shoulder and into the net with 18:10 remaining.
The Flyers quickly tied the game as Gostisbehere ripped a shot past Lehner just one minute, 52 seconds later.
Couturier stayed red hot with his 22nd goal of the season and his fourth in three games by scoring on the power play with 12:43 left. Jakub Voracek earned his league-leading 42nd assist to help put the Flyers ahead 2-1.
Couturier later added his 23rd goal for his second two-goal effort in back-to-back games. Voracek picked up his 43rd assist on Couturier’s empty-netter. Couturier moved up to fourth in the league in goals scored.
Buffalo kept the goal empty down 3-1 and Provorov notched the Flyers’ fourth goal with about 30 seconds left.
The Flyers started really passive, as has been the case in a number of games this season. Both teams went 1-for-3 on the power play.
But Philadelphia rallied for another home win.
—Field Level Media