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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, March 5th (All times eastern)

Buffalo Sabres (30-25-8) at Philadelphia Flyers (40-17-6), 1 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Philadelphia Flyers will try to avoid their first three-game slide in over three months when they host the Buffalo Sabres today at Wells Fargo Center.

The Flyers have dropped recent tests against Ottawa and Toronto, giving the Eastern Conference leaders their first slide since losing to Florida and Vancouver on Dec. 20 and 28, respectively.

Philadelphia, which is three points ahead of Boston for the East lead and four in front of Pittsburgh for first place in the Atlantic Division, was last defeated in three straight tilts from Nov. 26-Dec. 1.

The Flyers have dominated Buffalo in the two meetings so far this season. They recorded a 6-3 victory on Oct. 26 in western New York and posted a 5-2 home win on Nov. 11. Philly has taken seven of 10 overall in the series and the Sabres have dropped three out of five in the City of Brotherly Love.

Philadelphia was dealt a 3-2 setback by the visiting Maple Leafs on Thursday, as Darryl Boyce tallied the game-winning score for Toronto with 4 1/2 minutes left in the third period.

Facing his old team for the first time, Kris Versteeg posted both goals -- assisted each time by Mike Richards -- for the Flyers. Versteeg was acquired in a trade with the Maple Leafs on Feb. 14.

"I think we've been playing well over the last six games or so," said Versteeg about his adjustment to his new club. "Sometimes it takes a little time to build it and go on but it's about going out and working hard for each other."

Sergei Bobrovsky took the loss despite making 30 saves for the Flyers. Brian Boucher is expected to get the start over Bobrovsky today and the veteran backstop is 3-4-0 with a 2.36 goals-against average in his career against Buffalo.

The Flyers played Thursday without forwards Jeff Carter, Dan Carcillo and Darroll Powe, who were all sidelined with flu-like symptoms. The trio is questionable for today's contest.

Carter left the team to attend his grandfather's funeral in Ontario on Friday, but Carcillo and Powe were able to practice yesterday.

Philadelphia has a solid 20-9-3 record as the host this season, but has lost three of its last four tilts at Wells Fargo Center.

The Sabres have three wins in their last five outings and have gained a point in every contest over that 3-0-2 stretch. Buffalo enters today as the ninth seed in the East and is just three points behind Carolina for the conference's eighth and final playoff spot.

Buffalo is coming off a loss, however, as the Sabres were dealt an overtime setback in Thursday's key playoff battle against the hosting Hurricanes. The Sabres entered the game two points behind Carolina for the East's eighth seed and were dealt a 3-2 setback after Hurricanes defenseman Jamie McBain notched the game winner just 26 seconds into the extra session.

In the extra session, McBain took a pass at the right point, took a stride down and blasted a shot past Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller, who made 21 saves in the loss.

Steve Montador had a goal and an assist while Brad Boyes also scored for the Sabres. Boyes, who was acquired from St. Louis in a trade last week, has recorded a goal in each of his two games with Buffalo.

Buffalo is making the third stop on a six-game road trip today and is 16-10-5 as the visiting team this season.

03/05 10:50:43 ET


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