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Preview: En garde!

It’s St. Patrick’s Day, and the Flyers are playing a hockey game against the Buffalo Sabres, who are 3-5-2 in their last ten. The Sabres have been vying for a wildcard spot but, with a few losses piling up, that dream seems to be slipping away. Still, they have a pretty good team in place with another year of development under their belts, and could transition into true contenders over the off season.

The Sabres’ star players have been electric this season. (Mt.) Tage Thompson has scored 42 goals so far this year, and would be in the Rocket Richard running if Connor McDavid wasn’t on the verge of cracking 60 this year. Rasmus Dahlin has 63 points in 63 games and has looked like the elite defenseman the Sabres thought they were getting when they drafted him. Dylan Cozens is turning into a very good center, with 57 points on the season, and Alex Tuch, who recently returned from injury, has 64 points. Even Jeff Skinner has seen a resurgence, and is having a career year with 67 points so far. The Sabres have the third most goals-for in the NHL, behind only Boston and Edmonton—they can score, is what I’m trying to say.

What the Sabres can’t do is keep the puck out of their own net, with the seventh most goals allowed in the NHL. Their goaltending has been mediocre, and their two-way play has been awful—and that is what’s ultimately undoing their wildcard push. For the Flyers to win today, they’ll have to smother the Sabres’ offensive onslaught and take advantage of their weak play on defense. It’s doable, but Carter Hart’s gonna have to come up big.

Puck drops at 7 p.m. tonight from the Farg.

Players to Watch

Sean Couturier (???)

Never thought I’d be writing that this season. There’s been quite a bit of buzz this week about a possible Couturier return, and he was at morning skate today with a regular jersey. He will not play tonight but, with all the time he’s spending around the team, a return could happen soon—or at least he’s gonna be in the building and highlighted on the telecast.

Travis Sanheim

Finally, a goal! Sanheim scored against the Golden Knights earlier this week in what may’ve been the ugliest goal of the season, but they don’t ask how, they ask how many. With his eight year contract kicking in next year, the Flyers really need to see his performance bounce back, and a goal could spark some of the offense Sanheim is known for.

Nick Seeler

Speaking of goals…sheesh, Nick Seeler. For a depth piece on a bad team, Nick Seeler’s play this season has been a lot of fun. His numbers haven’t been too bad either—and with Tony DeAngelo and Rasmus Ristolainen as his most frequent partners, you know neither of them are driving those stats.

Tage Thompson

The man scores goals, and he does it in really fun ways. With a five-goal game against Columbus earlier this season and a hat trick of hat tricks under his belt, there’s always the chance he helps Buffalo run away with the game.

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