Preview: Flyers vs Sabres (Game 31)

Updated: December 16, 2017 at 4:47 pm by Zac DeMedio

Flyers (12-11-7, 31 PTS) vs Sabres (8-17-6, 22 PTS)

Philadelphia looks to extend their winning streak to 5 games as they welcome the Buffalo Sabres to the Wells Fargo Center as these two teams match up for the first time in the 2017/2018 regular season. The Flyers are coming off a hard fought win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night, completing a four game sweep over Canadian teams. On the flip side, Buffalo is also coming off a win versus a Canadian team, as they hung on for a 3-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators.

WATCH / LISTEN / FACE-OFF

TV: NBCSPhiladelphia

LISTEN: 97.5 F.M. The Fanatic

PUCK DROP: 7:00 P.M.

LINE COMBINATIONS (Courtesy of Daily Faceoff)

Philadelphia: Flyers Line Combinations

The saying goes: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and that seems to be how Coach Dave Hakstol is handling his lines during this winning streak. No changes were made during the team’s morning skate, as the Orange and Black have had success with these line combos. Michael Raffl made sure to note that they can’t take any team lightly in the NHL, “we can’t look past any team. I think we’re aware that we have to bring everything to tonight’s game. It’s going to take a lot.”

Giroux – Couturier – Simmonds

Raffl – Filppula – Voracek

Weal – Patrick – Weise

Leier – Laughton – Konecny

Provorov – MacDonald

Hagg – Gostisbehere

Sanheim – Gudas 

Elliot 

Brian Elliot will be back in between the pipes for Philadelphia tonight with his sixth consecutive start. In those previous five starts, he is 5-1 with an average .930 save percentage. In his career against the Sabres, he holds an impressive 11-1-2 record, with a 1.85 GAA.

Buffalo: Sabres Line Combinations

With their first win in seven days, it’d be surprising to see Buffalo make any drastic changes to their lineup before tonight’s matchup in Philadelphia.

Pouliot – Eichel – Pominville

Girgensons – O’Reilly – Okposo

Kane – Rodrigues – Reinhart 

Wilson – Larsson – Nolan

Scandella – Ristolainen

McCabe – Bogosian

Gorges – Falk

Lehner

Robin Lehner will get the start tonight from Coach Phil Housley, this will be Lehner’s fifth straight start for Buffalo. In those five games he is 2-0-2 with a .937 save percentage.

THREE STORYLINES TO WATCH

It was revealed that the Flyers would not be loaning rookie Nolan Patrick to Team Canada for this year’s World Junior Championships. Patrick has struggled since returning from his concussion, and many thought he might get sent to Buffalo for a confidence boost but the Flyers brass believes he is better off here in Philadelphia.

What a year Sean Couturier has had so far. There were many skeptics of him being pushed up to be the teams first line center, but the risk has certainly been met with rewards. He’s already matched his career high in goals which is 15. On top of that he’s added 15 assists to give him an even 30 points on the year. It seems that the offensive production we’ve always been looking for from Couturier has emerged in his 7th season.

Philadelphia will look to take advantage of a goalie who’s had bad numbers against them throughout his career. Robin Lehner has made four career starts against the Flyers, and he is an unimpressive, 1-3-0 with a 4.02 GAA and a .871 save percentage.

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