Here we go again.
A lot of times when the term ‘Measuring Stick Game’ is used in the NHL, it happens when a team is playing a team that they are competing for a playoff spot with. For the Flyers, that isn’t the case. The team’s Achilles heel this season has been playing down to their opponents, and Buffalo has been one of those teams.
The Flyers won 2-1 against the Sabres on home ice back on December 14th, but it was not a pretty game, and the Flyers only managed to seal the win with two minutes left. That game was followed up a week later with the Flyers playing one of their worst games of the season and losing to the Sabres, 4-2.
Two of the last three Flyer wins have come against the best teams in the NHL. Their one loss was an abysmal one that came against a Penguin team that was mightily struggling.
So this afternoon proves to be a huge measuring stick in the Flyers season. Can they finally put away a bad team? Or will they struggle and play down to their opponent once again?
LISTEN: 97.5 FM The Fanatic
PUCK DROP: 1:00 P.M.
LINE COMBINATIONS (Courtesy of Daily Faceoff)
Philadelphia: Flyers Line Combinations
Wait, you mean the Flyers have another goalie on their roster? That’s right!
After making 16 straight starts dating back to November 28th, Elliott will finally get a rest as Neuvy will be back in action and try to stop the Sabres.
Claude Giroux – Sean Couturier – Travis Konecny
Michael Raffl – Valtteri Filppula – Jakub Voracek
Jordan Weal – Nolan Patrick – Wayne Simmonds
Tyrell Goulbourne – Scott Laughton – Dale Weise
Ivan Provorov – Shayne Gostisbehere
Andrew MacDonald – Robert Hagg
Brandon Manning – Radko Gudas
Buffalo: Sabres Line Combinations
There are no two ways about it, the Buffalo Sabres are just not a good team this year.
They’ve given up 10 goals over their past 2 games and Jack Eichel and Evander Kane have been the only bright spots for them this season.
Evander Kane – Ryan O’Reilly – Kyle Okposo
Zemgus Girgensons – Jack Eichel – Sam Reinhart
Scott Wilson – Evan Rodrigues – Jason Pominville
Johan Larsson – Jacob Josefson – Jordan Nolan
Marco Scandella – Rasmus Ristolainen
Josh Gorges – Zach Bogosian
Jake McCabe – Nathan Beaulieu
Three Storylines to Watch
- The Sabres come into this game last (or close to last) in nearly every important statistical category in the NHL. They are last in goals per game with just 2.2, they are 29th in goals against per game with 3.4, they’re 30th on the power play at 11.9%, and they are 22nd on the penalty kill at 80.2%. With the Flyers fresh off of two high-scoring wins, there is no reason why they shouldn’t absolutely bury the Sabres.
- I feel like at this point last season I was listening to everyone tell me Giroux was washed up and that he was a fluke of a ‘superstar’. Funny, I haven’t heard any of that in awhile. The Captain now has 17 points in his last 10 games and has quickly found himself second in the NHL in scoring. He’s also had three, three-point games over that timespan. Given the fact that the Flyers were not a good team for long stretches of time, it’s pretty incredible to see Giroux with a point total that high. Look for that success to continue against this Sabres team.
- This might finally be the stretch that gets Wayne Simmonds back to his normal self. He’s got himself 3 goals and 4 points over his past 5 games. That’s a welcome site for the Flyers. Simmonds went through long stretches this season without a goal, which is very unlike him. It seems like Dave Hakstol has tried to play more of a netfront game recently, and I really think that has helped Simmonds find his game again. He will try to extend his goal-streak to 3 games today.
The Puck drops at 1:00.