Flyers-Sabres 5 things: Trying to solve the road woes

Flyers-Sabres 5 things: Trying to solve the road woes

Flyers (21-15-6) at Sabres (15-15-9)
7 p.m. on CSN, CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports App. Pregame Live at 6:30

The Flyers, who have lost eight of their last 10 games, will try to pick up a road win when they visit the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night at the KeyBank Center.

Here are five things you need to know for the matchup:

1. Road woes
The Flyers have not won a game away from the Wells Fargo Center since Dec. 14.

Over the past six road contests, the Flyers are 0-3-3 and have been outscored 21-8.

Buffalo may be the remedy the Flyers need. The Sabres have the second-fewest home wins in the Eastern Conference at 8-8-3 and are scoring just 2.11 goals per game at home, which ranks 29th in the NHL.

2. Simmer the star
Wayne Simmonds will take the ice as an NHL All-Star.

The Flyers’ winger was named the team’s lone representative for the game on Jan. 29 in Los Angeles, where Simmonds began his NHL career.

"It’s kind of surreal,” Simmonds said after morning skate (see story). “It makes me think when I was a young kid, watching the All-Star Games and watching all the great players who played in it. To even be mentioned in the same breath as All-Stars in the NHL, it’s pretty special and it’s a great accomplishment."

Simmonds leads the Flyers with 17 goals a year after scoring a career-high 32, and he's been a monster on the power play (eight goals, seven assists).

3. Finding the power
The Flyers’ power play is just 3 for its last 32.

However, the Sabres are tied for the NHL’s worst penalty-kill percentage at 74.3.

Maybe this is when the Flyers’ power play gets going again.

4. Keep an eye on ...
Flyers: We’re going to say Dale Weise, who is seeing ample opportunity to shake off what has been a slow and underwhelming start to his Flyers career. The winger has four points (two goals, two assists) in 37 games. He’s now playing on a line with Simmonds and Brayden Schenn.

Sabres: 2015 second-overall pick Jack Eichel is heating up. The 20-year-old center has six points (three goals, three assists) in his last six games after going pointless in his previous five.

5. This and that
• Steve Mason is 5-3-1 with a 2.37 goals-against average and .914 save percentage in nine career games against the Sabres.

• With regular starter Robin Lehner out sick, Buffalo will go with Anders Nilsson in net. He is 2-0-1 with a  2.41 goals-against average and .914 save percentage in four career games against the Flyers.

• Shayne Gostisbehere is on a 19-game goal drought.

• The Flyers are 7-1-2 in their last 10 games against Buffalo.

Nolan Patrick, Nico Hischier know Flyers by now, ready for anything at NHL draft

Nolan Patrick, Nico Hischier know Flyers by now, ready for anything at NHL draft

CHICAGO — Nico Hischier was nervous, swaying a bit as he spoke to the media, admitting he had some jitters as this NHL draft approaches on Friday.

About 60 feet away, Nolan Patrick leaned on a stick and said not only was he not nervous, he also really couldn't care less whether he's picked first overall Friday by New Jersey or second by the Flyers because his goal is just to get into the NHL.

"Doesn't matter to me," Patrick said Thursday. "A lot of guys will tell you what you want to hear. That they don't care, but deep down, they do.

"I don't care. It's not going to change my chances in the NHL if I go No. 1 or 4. I'm gonna take it. Where I go is not gonna help me any more. At the end of the day, I've got to work hard."

That said, Hischier is poised to become the highest-drafted Swiss player ever and if he went first overall …

"I would make history and that would make me proud," Hischier beamed. "Really happy, for sure."

Both players participated in Thursday's ball-hockey clinic in a parking lot just across the street from United Center where one of them will go to the Devils and one to the Flyers on Friday night.

"Yeah, I little bit nervous," Hischier admitted. "It's not up to me. I just have to enjoy it."

Flyers general manager Ron Hextall took both players out to dinner separately in Buffalo, New York, earlier this month at the NHL Scouting Combine to try and get a peek behind their personalities (see story).

"We talked about Philadelphia, talked about the club, the goals, what's important for them," Hischier said. "It was good dinner and went well."

Patrick, who is from Winnipeg, Manitoba, said he was impressed with the steakhouse and said what he liked best about the meal was getting into arguments with fellow Manitoban, Hextall, who is from Brandon.

"He's a really nice guy," Patrick said. "It was a fancy steakhouse. I'll take those dinners any day. He knows what he is doing in Philly. If I were lucky enough to go there, I'd be happy.

"I know all about him. He's a Brandon Wheat King. Us Manitobans always going at each other. We got into a few arguments about some of his guys. Manitoba is the best place in the world."

Right now, for a couple hundred hockey players, Chicago is the best place in the world because this is the NHL draft and what happens Friday and Saturday will impact their lives forever.

Which is why Hischier brought his older brother, Luca, here. He plays for Bern in Switzerland where Hischier also was before transferring to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League to play for Halifax this past season.

"My idol is my brother," Nico said. "He is playing pro in Bern. We have a good relationship. I'm happy he is here because I can ask him everything, on and off the ice."

Both players have some Flyers familiarity.

Hischier skated with Mark Streit last summer but hasn't talked to him since.

"Last summer, I skated with Streit, [Roman] Josi, [Shea] Weber and those guys," Hischier said. "It was fun."

Patrick played with Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov two years ago in Brandon.

"Talked to Provy two weeks ago," Patrick said. "I was talking to Brayden Schenn the last couple days. Provy works out 10 hours a day."

A few weeks from now, one of these guys will be at the Flyers' developmental camp working out in Skate Zone.

"It's not up to me," Hischier said. "I don't focus on expectations, I don't focus on teams. Everything can happen.

"I'm going to be open for everything and happy, for sure. If it's No. 2 or 3, I'm gonna be happy anyway."

Flyers begin 2017-18 season out West, face Vegas for 1st time in February

Flyers begin 2017-18 season out West, face Vegas for 1st time in February

For the second straight year, the Flyers are beginning the season out West.

The NHL on Thursday released its 2017-18 schedule and as reported Wednesday, the Flyers open the season in San Jose on Oct. 4 as part of a four-game road trip that includes games in Los Angeles, Anaheim and concludes in Nashville on Oct. 10.

They'll return home on Oct. 14 for their home opener against the Washington Capitals that kickstarts a five-game homestand (see story). The Flyers will host the Islanders on Black Friday.

Flyers fans will have to wait a while for their first taste of the Vegas Golden Knights. The Flyers will face the Golden Knights for the first time on Feb. 11 in Vegas.

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and the Golden Knights come to Philadelphia on March 12.

The Flyers will end the season at home against the New York Rangers.

You can see the Flyers' full schedule here (and buy tickets here).