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Game 13, Preview and Open Thread: League's Best Offense vs League's Best Defense, Philadelphia Flyers at Buffalo Sabres

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Philadelphia Flyers (7-4-1, 15 pts) at Buffalo Sabres (9-2-1, 19 pts)
HSBC Arena - 7:30 PM ET - Buffalo, NY
TV: Comcast Network HD, MSG Buffalo HD
Radio: 610 WIP, XM 206
This is the open game thread.
Behind Enemy Lines: Die By The Blade
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Riding a two-game winning streak into Buffalo tonight, the Philadelphia Flyers will put their potent offense to the test tonight as they take on the red-hot Sabres. Winners in five of their last six, they have surprised many with an excellent start that has propelled them to third place in the Eastern Conference, just five points behind first place Pittsburgh with four games in hand.

The Flyers haven't had nearly as impressive a first month of the season, but they have been on a roll lately, outscoring opponents 12-3 in their last two games. But those opponents were Carolina and Tampa Bay, and the Sabres are much, much better. It starts in net with Ryan Miller, and he's been a stone wall this season. In 11 games, he has a GAA of 1.69 and a save percentage of .941.

The defense is also just downright stingy, and the team has allowed just 24 goals all year long, a number that puts them at first place in the NHL by far. They score 1.7 goals for every goal against, a telling stat that shows you just how solid they are defensively. The Flyers, however, are the most potent offense in the league, averaging 3.67 goals per game. Those numbers are slightly inflated by the past two games, but nonetheless, they can score and will test Buffalo's blueline tonight.

Of course, they aren't fully up-to-speed. Danny Briere will miss tonight's game, still down from a "lower-body injury." Briere also suffered from the flu all week long, as did Matt Carle Arron Asham, Dan Carcillo, Jeff Carter, and Ian Laperriere. Laperriere and Carter practiced while the others did not, but everybody except for Briere is expected to play tonight. David Laliberte will again play in his place. Defenseman Ryan Parent is still out with a groin pull which means we will see Danny Syvret and Ole-Kristian Tollefsen yet again.

The Flyers will have to take it to the Sabres early if they have hopes of beating them. Will the flu bug hinder their efforts? We'll see this evening.

After the jump, a few questions to answer tonight.

Questions To Answer

  1. Can the Flyers jump on the Sabres early?
  2. Who comes out on top: the league's best offense or the league's best defense?
    Does the flu bug hinder the Flyers at all tonight, especially Matt Carle, who reportedly suffered more than anybody?
    Can David Laliberte score in his first three NHL games?

Puck drop is at 7:30 this evening at Buffalo's HSBC Arena. Watch locally on The Comcast Network, which simulcasts in HD on Comcast Digital channel 201. Listen at 610 WIP, and join us here for the conversation as the orange and black go for three straight. LET'S GO FLYERS!