NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, January 11th (All times eastern)
Philadelphia Flyers (26-10-5) at Buffalo Sabres (18-18-5), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - A five-game point streak has the Sabres back to the .500 mark halfway through the season. Getting above the mark could prove difficult versus the Flyers, who are off to their best performance at the midway point in five seasons.
Philadelphia goes for a fourth straight victory this evening in Buffalo at HSBC Arena.
The Flyers are 26-10-5 through 41 games following a recent home-and-home sweep of the Devils and they have nine victories in their last 12 games overall. The last time they had 26 wins at this point of the season was 2005-06.
After a two-goal victory in New Jersey last Thursday, the Flyers finished off the quick sweep of the Devils with a 2-1 triumph on Saturday at Wells Fargo Center. Danny Briere notched his fifth goal in six games and team-leading 21st of the season, while Brian Boucher made 34 saves.
James van Riemsdyk also scored in the first period for Philadelphia, which is one point ahead of Pittsburgh for the most in the Eastern Conference.
"I think the first period was probably our best period of the three," Briere said. "These afternoon games are always a little tougher to get into it seems. The most important part is that we found a way to win especially winning back to back against the Devils."
The victory also ensured head coach Peter Laviolette a spot as one of the co- coaches at the upcoming All-Star game. He will share duties with Vancouver bench boss Alain Vigneault.
"I've never been to one before so it will be fun," Laviolette told the Flyers' website "More than anything I think my spot there is the reflection of the organization and the players and their commitment to being successful. I'm grateful for that."
The Flyers begin a four-game road trip tonight and have won seven of their past nine on the road to up their season record as the guest to 13-4-3. They have played their last three games without Nikolay Zherdev due to a strained groin and he remains questionable for tonight.
Buffalo comes out of the midpoint at 18-18-5 on the season thanks to a current 4-0-1 run. That has the club 10th overall in the East and 10 points behind Northeast Division-leading Boston.
"[The .500 mark] is not where we want to be, we want to be better than that," Buffalo's Jason Pominville told his club's website. "But getting there is the first step and now it's moving on and getting above it and keep climbing."
The Sabres extended their current point streak with a 2-1 overtime victory versus the Coyotes on Saturday. Jordan Leopold scored in regulation and Drew Stafford had the game-winner with 1:48 left in the extra session.
Stafford has four goals and three assists over his last four games.
Ryan Miller turned aside 33 shots and is 10-7-1 with a 2.87 goals-against average versus the Flyers. He made 28 saves in a 6-3 setback in Philadelphia on Oct. 26 in the first meeting of the season between the clubs.
Jeff Carter had a goal and two assists for the Flyers and Briere added a score and helper. Briere, who played with the Sabres for three-plus seasons before joining the Flyers prior to 2007-08, has three goals and three assists in seven games against his former club since his departure.
Philadelphia snapped a three-game series losing streak with that victory and won for the seventh time in its last 11 meetings with Buffalo. The Flyers have won four of their last five on the road over the Sabres.
Netminder Sergei Bobrovsky made 32 saves in the earlier win for the Flyers, but Boucher could make a fourth straight start tonight. He is 3-4-0 with a 2.36 GAA versus Buffalo.
01/11 11:03:53 ET