The Philadelphia Flyers currently sit three points out of a Wild Card position as they try for their eighth win in nine games Friday night in Buffalo.
It’s the start of a four-game road trip for the Flyers, who are right back in action Saturday night in Columbus.
The Sabres have dropped 16 of their last 19 games and will be looking for just their second win against the Metropolitan Division this season.
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PUCK DROP: 7:00 P.M.
LINE COMBINATIONS (Courtesy of Daily Faceoff)
Philadelphia: Flyers Line Combinations
Brian Elliott will be making his 10th consecutive start in goal, as the Flyers continue to rely heavily on the veteran. He’s started 18 of the last 20 games and should be in for a fairly quiet night against a struggling Sabres squad. In the event things go south, Elliott has performed very well against Buffalo over his career, posting a 12-1-2 record with a 1.79 & .938 save percentage.
The Flyers continue to get production from the dynamic top line. In the last game against the Red Wings, Claude Giroux had three assists, Couturier set a career high in goals with the game-winner and Jakub Voracek extended his point streak to four games.
Claude Giroux – Sean Couturier – Wayne Simmonds
Michael Raffl – Valtteri Filppula – Jakub Voracek
Jordan Weal – Nolan Patrick – Dale Weise
Taylor Leier – Scott Laughton – Travis Konecny
Ivan Provorov – Andrew MacDonald
Shayne Gostisbehere – Robert Hagg
Travis Sanheim – Radko Gudas
Buffalo: Sabres Line Combinations
Jack Eichel is always one to watch for Buffalo, as the first-line center has nine points (four goals) in the past eight games.
Evander Kane is the team’s leading scorer and is point-per-game player against the Flyers in his career.
Robin Lehner is starting in goal for Buffalo and has allowed just five goals in his last three starts.
Zemgus Girgensons – Jack Eichel – Sam Reinhart
Evander Kane – Ryan O’Reilly – Kyle Okposo
Benoit Pouliot – Jacob Josefson – Jason Pominville
Scott Wilson – Johan Larsson – Jordan Nolan
Marco Scandella – Rasmus Ristolainen
Jake McCabe – Zach Bogosian
Josh Gorges – Nathan Beaulieu
Three Storylines to Watch
Despite the Sabres struggles this season, the Flyers shouldn’t underestimate Buffalo. Jack Eichel is an offensive catalyst and netminder Robin Lehner has stolen games this season. Buffalo is preparing for the Winter Classic at Citi Field in New York and likely want to build some momentum before heading outdoors. Things are looking upwards for the Flyers, but they need to turn in two strong performances and head into the holiday break feeling good about themselves. The Sabres rank last in the NHL for goals scored (72) and average goals per-game (2.12) and the Flyers need to take advantage.
Brian Elliott is a workhorse and will be appearing in his 400th career NHL game tonight. The veteran netminder is facing a likely frustrated Robin Lehner, who has been excellent in back-to-back games but come up winless due to the play of the team in front of him. It could be a goaltending duel between two goalies playing some very good hockey. It’s easy to point the finger at the tendy for losses, but Lehner is one of the league’s hottest netminders and a potentially fatigued Elliott will need to be equal to the task.
Special teams. The Flyers’ power play is rolling, while the Sabres have been getting it done on the penalty kill. The Sabres are 13-for-13 on the PK over their last six games, include five straight perfect games. They have the second-best penalty kill in the entire league on home ice, so the Flyers will need to find a way to breakthrough. The Flyers have scored with the man advantage in six of their last eight games and will look to keep it rolling Friday. .
The Puck drops at 7:00.