Home NHL Buffalo Sabres #PHIvsBUF Preview

#PHIvsBUF Preview

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kaletsPhiladelphia Flyers (17-21-7, 41) vs Buffalo Sabres (14-28-3, 31)

First Niagara Center

Buffal0, NY

7:00 PM, TV: MSG-B, CSN-PHI

#PHIvsBUF

TEAM

PP% RANK PK% RANK SHOTS/GAME RANK SHOTS AGAINST/GAME RANK

LAST 10

 flyers

22.2

6 73.5 30 29.0 22 29.9 19 3-6-1
 SAB 8.8 30 75.2 28 23.2 30 35.4 30

1-9-0

Buffalo, NY- The Flyers and Sabres kick off the first of four meetings Saturday night at First Niagara Center. Both clubs are coming off shut out losses at home Thursday. Philly was blanked 4-0 to Ryan Miller and the Vancouver Canucks. They have won just 6 games on the road this season.

Buffalo’s losing streak reached nine games Thursday after a 7-0 loss against Minnesota. Afterwards head coach Ted Nolan was biting his tongue and the players were out of excuses. Friday’s practice was about as grueling as one would expect following a putrid effort in front of the home crowd. Plenty of skating, with and without the puck and then a lengthy video session.

In the locker room following a draining work-out we caught up with Tyler Myers who simply stated “we haven’t been good enough and we’re beyond talk at this point” adding “that said, I’m very confident in the guys in this room.” The talk amongst players has to be exhausting to say the least. Myers, Zemgus Girgensons and reluctantly Drew Stafford were the only players to take questions. I give a lot of credit to assistant Josh Gorges. After the Minnesota Wild buried Buffalo Thursday he was there, took the questions and answered honestly and bravely. He was comfortable in doing so and offered no excuses. Where was the captain Brian Gionta? He was on the ice for practice Wednesday, skated Thursday morning and was back at it Friday. Let’s assume he was getting treatment. I have a feeling Doug Gilmour or Scott Stevens would have been front and center Friday if in the same situation.

For the Sabres, they have an opportunity to put a better effort in Saturday night versus Philadelphia. The Flyers have lost 3 of their last 4 and have been shut-out in back-to-back games. However they boast the 6th best power play in the league, something Buffalo should be concerned about. Buffalo ranks at the bottom of almost every major statistical category in the NHL. Philadelphia is one of two teams with a worse penalty kill, in fact they are the league’s worst. For a team that has severely struggled to generate offense Buffalo has a great opportunity to finally exploit an opposing team’s weakness.

Tyler Ennis, Matt Moulson and Cody Hodgson are skilled forwards that need to pick this team up, quickly. All three have been non-existent since the New Year rang in.

Player

Games Since Last Goal

Date/VS

Tyler Ennis

7

Dec. 31/Tampa Bay

Matt Moulson

11

Dec. 15/Ottawa

Cody Hodgson 15

Dec. 13/Florida

Ted Nolan knows he and his players are under the radar “when you’re not winning and not competing, there’s prices to pay”. The team has been soft. “We’re soft on line changes and we’ve been soft in our pursuit of the puck” adding “we showed them in the videos what happens when we’re playing lazy”.

Buffalo lost all three games to Philly last season. Jakub Voracek (17-35-52) leads the Flyers and the league in total points.

After tonight’s game the Sabres leave for a five game road trip with the annual All-Star break sandwiched in between. They return to the First Niagara Center Feb 5th to host the St. Louis Blues.

Frank Wolf ~ @wolf3328

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