Carter Hutton picked up his 10th win of the season as the Buffalo Sabres dispatched the Philadelphia Flyers, 5-2, for their seventh win in a row in front of a raucous home crowd at KeyBank Center on Wednesday night.
It marked the first time the Sabres won seven in a row since they opened the 2006-07 campaign with 10 straight wins.
“It’s two points. It’s great to do it at home. We’ve been on the road the last few games,” captain Jack Eichel said.
“It’s nice to be home. The crowd was awesome. It’s a great win.”
The Sabres struck early and often as they scored four times in the first period. Eventually chasing Philadelphia’s starting goalie Alex Lyon from the crease after just 20 minutes of action.
Taking the lead on goals by Jeff Skinner, Tage Thompson, Evan Rodrigues and Johan Larsson, the Sabres were relentless as they crashed the net as they out worked the Flyers at every turn. The Sabres also did a good job of getting the puck in behind the Flyers defense to create chances.
“I thought we were fast. I thought we were physical,” Eichel said. “I thought our back pressure translated to a lot of opportunities for us.”
Oddly enough this game was perhaps more of a test of the Sabres mental toughness than their physical toughness.
Riding their longest winning streak since 2010, the Sabres were beginning to draw comparisons to the 2005-06 squad that went to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Facing a Flyers team that was 0-2-1 coming into Wednesday’s game it was a perfect scenario where the Sabres could have been overconfident and fallen on their faces.
“It was the start that we were looking for,” head coach Phil Housley said. “Especially coming back home, a big crowd. Fans were awesome tonight.”
But they didn’t. They took charge early. Weathered a brief Flyer comeback, but ultimately held tough and closed out the win.
Sam Reinhart capped off the scoring in the third.
The Sabres will host Montreal, Friday at 4pm.