Gameday: Flyers versus State of New York, Part III

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#8 Buffalo Sabres (30-22-6, 66 pts)  at # 4 Philadelphia Flyers (30-16-9, 69 pts)
Wachovia Center - 7:00 PM EST - Philadelphia, PA
TV: CSN HD, MSG Buffalo
Radio: 610 WIP, XM 204
This is the open game thread.
Live Internet Video Stream
Behind Enemy Lines: Die By The Blade
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It's the third straight game the Flyers will face a team from the state of New York, but it seems as though the orange and black haven't played in forever. For the second straight week, the Flyers have gone four days without playing games, and as they host Buffalo at the Wachovia Center this evening, they'll hope to avoid the same hangover they did last Thursday when they lost to the Ottawa Senators.

Just before Ottawa came to Philadelphia, they beat up on Buffalo for two straight games. Since then, the Sabres won an emotional contest with the Sharks 6-5 in a shootout, less than 24 hours after a plane crashed in Buffalo's backyard. They also dropped a matchup with the Hurricanes at home on Sunday, but most recently beat Toronto 4-1 on Tuesday.

They're right on the cusp of the playoffs at the moment, holding the eighth seed by five points. A win would hoist them within a point of the Flyers and could get them as high as the fifth seed, depending on what Florida and Montreal do tonight. Montreal, with a win and a Flyer loss, would tie Philly in points.

The Sabres are without their leading goal scorer Thomas Vanek, who was hit in the face with the puck. He's missing three to four weeks at a critical time of the season, but a few days ago, Die By The Blade felt that the team was missing more than just one player.

Buffalo is trying to avoid missing the playoffs for two straight seasons after going to the Conference Finals in back to back years. This is a big game for them considering they can get closer to one of the teams they are chasing, while holding off Pittsburgh and Carolina who both play tonight.

Between the Pipes: Current Flyer goalie Martin Biron was a member of those back-to-back Conference Finals teams in Buffalo. He faces his former club for the sixth time and is 3-2 in those games. He beat the Sabres in the only meeting between the teams this season, a 3-0 decision at HSBC Arena. He made 40 saves.

Ryan Miller goes for Buffalo. He's got a 2.51 GAA and a .918 save percentage in 49 games this season. In his career versus the Flyers, he's 7-4-1 with a 2.73 GAA. His 28 wins is ranked third in the league.


Buffalo Sabres Injuries

Probable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Paul Gaustad shoulder 02/18/2009

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Thomas Vanek jaw 02/08/2009
Henrik Tallinder shoulder 01/22/2009
Maxim Afinogenov groin 01/04/2009

Other Notes

  • Jeff Carter has six goals in five games against the Sabres dating back to last season. 
  • Sabres forward Drew Stafford scored twice on Tuesday and has eight goals in his last 11.
  • In their last five games, the Sabres have picked up points in alternating games. They lost to Carolina, beat Toronto, and tonight...?
  • Buffalo has won five of six in Philly.

Questions To Answer

  1. Does Marty keep up his stellar play from the weekend?
  2. Does Claude Giroux keep up his great weekend work?
  3. Does Scott Hartnell have any lingering effects from the shoulder tweak that kept him out of a portion of Tuesday's practice?
  4. Can the Flyers avoid the let down they suffered after having four days off?

7 PM. Be here (or at the game). Go Flyers.

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