The Pittsburgh Penguins currently have a five-game winning streak, but not without creating some anxious moments.
They hope to have a less stressful game Saturday while seeking a fifth straight victory over the visiting Buffalo Sabres.
Pittsburgh (10-4-2) has won each of its last four games by one goal, and needed extra time the last three. Despite blowing a three-goal lead Thursday, Pittsburgh recovered for a 5-4 shootout victory over Philadelphia.
The Penguins also rallied from a three-goal deficit Tuesday to down Detroit in overtime and dug out of a two-goal hole on Nov. 8 for another shootout victory over the New York Islanders.
On Thursday, Dany Sabourin (3-1-0) stopped all 11 shots in relief of Marc-Andre Fleury in the third period, and Sidney Crosby tied the game with less than three minutes left. Sabourin then stopped all six of the Flyers' shootout attempts to give the Penguins their longest winning streak since a nine-game run Dec. 23-Jan. 10 of last season.
"That was a tough game to play emotionally because of the game in Detroit," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said of Thursday's win. "We found a way to get a three-goal lead, but our power play was not very good (1-for-7) and it gave them an opportunity to get back into the game."
Fleury, who also nearly gave away a five-goal lead against Edmonton on Nov. 6, has gone 3-0 despite yielding 19 goals in his last four starts. He has a 2-2-2 record and 3.25 goals-against average lifetime against Buffalo.
As expected, Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have performed well against the Sabres, but Miroslav Satan has also done well of late. Satan, who played with the Sabres from 1997-2004, has two goals and three assists in his last five games against Buffalo but also four goals and five assists in his last six games heading into this contest.
Crosby, who has eight points in his last five games, has four goals and eight assists in 10 games against Buffalo, while Malkin - riding a 12-game points streak that has moved him to second in the NHL with 26 - has three goals and an assist last season in helping the Penguins sweep the four-game season series from the Sabres in 2007-08.
The Sabres (9-3-3) have dropped three of their last four and are trying to bounce back from their worst loss of the season. Patrick Lalime allowed four goals on eight shots in Friday's 6-1 loss to Columbus and was pulled 5:13 into the second period before giving up two goals in the final 20 minutes.
"It's not the kind of start you want," said Lalime, who has yielded 11 goals in his last two starts. "It was one of those nights. Every chance they had, they found a way to put it in."
While Lalime, who made his NHL debut with the Penguins in 1996, is 5-2-0 with one tie in his last eight starts against Pittsburgh, his struggles may lead Sabres coach Lindy Ruff to go with No. 1 goaltender Ryan Miller despite his career 2-4-2 record and 2.62 GAA versus the Penguins.
Despite firing a season-high 37 shots, the Sabres got their lone goal from Jason Pominville, who has scored in consecutive games and has a three-game points streak. Pominville, who also has four goals and two assists in his last six games, was held to one assist in the four losses to Pittsburgh last season.
Thomas Vanek, tied for second in the league with 12 goals, has scored three times in 12 games versus the Penguins.