Tonight, the Flyers look to snap a two game losing streak and regain their step. Luckily, they’re facing just the team to get them back in the win column.
After a smashingly successful road trip, the Flyers have been far from perfect lately. Just this past week we saw the Tampa Bay Lightning ruin their home winning streak, and on Sunday the Rangers made our boys look like a pee wee hockey squad. That loss demoted them to fourth in the Metropolitan, and as good as the Flyers have been since late December, every win still counts for playoff contention.
There’s a bit of good news, though -- tonight they’re taking on the undisputed worst team in hockey.
Buffalo Sabres (13-26-5, 31 pts) at Philadelphia Flyers (23-19-4, 50 pts)
7 p.m. | First Niagara Center | Buffalo, NY
Local TV: CSN Philly, NBCSN, TSN | Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic
Get the Buffalo perspective at Die By The Blade
Buffalo’s had quite a tumultuous season thus far. They’ve already changed their coach and general manager since a slow start in October, and have very little to show for it. They currently sit in dead last in the NHL, are 10 points behind the next best team in the Eastern Conference, and have the lowest goals per game in the league, all while boasting the second worst power play.
This team really stinks.
Their current leading scorer is Cody Hodgson with 20 points. Not to rag on Hodgson or anything, but it’s usually not a good sign when your most gifted offensive player is producing slightly more than 0.5 points per game.
Earlier this season, they shipped Thomas Vanek to the Islanders in exchange for Matt Moulson, and it seems that (at least in terms of immediate offensive production) that move was a step back. I suppose they were hoping to get a little more offense out of Mikhail Grigorenko this year, but alas, they recently sent him back to juniors after a disappointing start.
Despite Buffalo being a pretty obviously terrible team, a Flyers win is by no means a sure thing. This could easily turn into a trap game, and damnit we need the points.
One -- and probably the only -- bright spot for the Sabres has been goaltending. Ryan Miller is putting up numbers decent enough to get him an Olympic roster spot, despite having horrible skaters in front of him. Jhonas Enroth hasn’t been too shabby either, perhaps signaling that the never ending Ryan Miller trade rumors have a bit of fact behind them.
There's some good news for the Flyers, as Matt Read is expected back in the lineup after missing a couple of games due to a concussion. The third line has been struggling in his absence, and Vinny Lecavalier never looked like he belonged there, so hopefully Read’s return helps.
No word on starting goaltenders yet, but I’d expect Mason vs. Miller.
UPDATE: Looks like it will be Mason vs. Enroth tonight.
Game starts at 7:30. Buffalo sucks. Go Flyers.