Flyers vs. Sabres – 7:30 p.m., NBCSN
Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
Flyers: 11-14-1 (Fifth in Atlantic Division, 11th in Eastern Conference)
Sabres: 9-13-3 (Fifth in Northeast Division, 14th in Eastern Conference)
The Flyers allowed three third-period markers and fell to the Sabres, 5-2, on Jan. 20 in the last meeting between these two clubs. Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux each scored for the orange and black, while Thomas Vanek recorded five points (two goals, three assists) to pace Buffalo. Believe it or not the Flyers held a 2-1 lead at one point, but their undisciplined play caught up with them. The Sabres converted on 3-of-6 attempts on the man advantage.
Sunday will mark the second of three games between the Flyers and Sabres this season. Dating back to the 2010-11 campaign, the Flyers have gone 6-2-1 in their last nine regular-season contests against Buffalo.
Less than 24 hours ago, the Flyers couldn’t find any offense in a disappointing 3-0 loss to the Boston Bruins. Tuukka Rask turned aside 23 shots to record his 13th career NHL shutout for the B’s. The Flyers allowed three tallies in just over two minutes of action in the first period and never recovered. Andrej Meszaro had 17:28 of ice time in his first game back with the Flyers after missing the previous 21 with a left shoulder injury.
Buffalo dropped its third consecutive game after Thursday’s 3-2 shootout loss to the New Jersey Devils. Vanek and Brian Flynn netted the Sabres’ two goals in regulation. Four of Buffalo’s last five contests have gone to a shootout, with the Sabres coming out on top in two of them.
Jakub Voracek was held off the scoresheet on Saturday for just the second time in his last 11 games. During that span, the 23-year-old has 19 points (nine goals, 10 assists). Voracek has collected one tally and seven helpers in nine career contests against the Sabres.
Vanek ended his season-worst six-game goalless drought with his first-period power-play marker against the Devils. The 29-year-old is averaging two points per game against Atlantic Division foes this season (10 points in five games). Vanek has also piled up 13 points in his last seven games against the Flyers.
Keep an eye on...
Entering Sunday’s matchup, both the Flyers and Sabres are on three-game losing skids and rank dead last in their respective divisions. The Flyers, however, have a chance to win their third consecutive home game against Buffalo since a four-game run from 2002-04.
The Flyers on Saturday recalled netminder Michael Leighton and reassigned Brian Boucher to the AHL Adirondack Phantoms. It’s entirely possible that Leighton could start against Buffalo, considering the Flyers will play their second game in as many days and Ilya Bryzgalov has started all but two contests for the orange and black this season.
Buffalo will continue to be without agitator Patrik Kaleta, who was suspended five games for boarding Rangers center Brad Richards last week. Kaleta is not eligible to return to the Sabres until their March 17 meeting with the Washington Capitals.
The Sabres have one of the NHL’s worst power-play units. They have converted on just 12.2 percent of their chances on the man advantage and are an Eastern Conference-low 8.7 percent effective on the road.
Did you know?
The Flyers have more regulation losses (14) than the Chicago Blackhawks (one), Anaheim Ducks (three), Bruins (three) and Montreal Canadiens (five) combined.
Flyers: Tye McGinn (right orbital surgery) and Jody Shelley (left hip surgery) are on injured reserve and remain out.
Sabres: Ville Leino (strained right hip), Jordan Leopold (upper-body) and Alexander Sulzer (lower-body) are on IR.
Andrej Sekera is expected to miss Sunday’s game against the Flyers with an undisclosed injury.
How do you think the Flyers will respond after being shut out by the Bruins?
Flyers vs. Sabres – 7:30 p.m., NBCSN