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Buffalo
Sabres
41-32-9
Philadelphia
Flyers
44-27-11

29 SOG
33 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
BUF
PHI
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Sabres-Flyers Preview

Tuesday, 03.10.2009 / 7:00 PM

Associated Press

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Sabres-Flyers Preview
Buffalo Sabres vs. Philadelphia Flyers

At a time when teams are trying to build momentum for the playoffs, the Philadelphia Flyers have been very inconsistent from one game to the next.

The Flyers hope to put this trend behind them and build off an impressive win Tuesday night when they host the Buffalo Sabres, who are also looking to string some wins together for a postseason push.

Philadelphia (35-19-10) is fourth in the Eastern Conference with 80 points but a playoff berth is no guarantee, as there are five teams within four points of the Flyers.

Philadelphia went 7-2-1 in its final 10 games in February but has been unable to continue that success this month.

The Flyers opened March with a 3-0 loss at Atlantic Division-leading New Jersey before bouncing back with an 4-2 win over East-leading Boston two days later. Philadelphia then started a season-high five-game homestand with a 5-1 loss to Calgary on Thursday before getting back on track with a 4-1 victory over Nashville on Saturday.

"There's no magic recipe," said Philadelphia's Martin Biron, who made 31 saves Saturday. "We're a good team and when we don't complicate things we usually play good."

Biron is 5-2-0 with a 2.09 goals-against average and one shutout in eight games since Feb. 14 after going 0-4-0 with a 3.98 GAA in his previous five starts.

He has been in net for both games against the Sabres (33-26-7) this season, making 40 saves in a 3-0 win at Buffalo on Nov. 21 and stopping 38 shots in 6-3 home victory Feb. 19. Biron, who was drafted by the Sabres in 1995 and spent eight-plus seasons in Buffalo before being traded to Philadelphia on Feb. 27, 2007, is 4-2-1 with a 3.19 GAA and one shutout in seven career starts versus his former team.

Joffrey Lupul led Philadelphia's offense Saturday with two goals to become the sixth Flyer to reach the 20-goal mark this season.

Mike Richards, who scored his 25th against the Predators, had two goals and three assists against Buffalo three weeks ago.

While the Flyers are trying to strengthen their playoff position, the Sabres need to do some work just to reach the postseason. Buffalo is 10th in the East, three points out of the final playoff spot.

"We know that it's not going to be easy, there's a lot of teams battling for it," said goaltender Patrick Lalime, who has made six straight starts for Buffalo in place of injured starter Ryan Miller (high ankle sprain). "Teams are winning, so we have to do the same."

The Sabres lost to Ottawa 6-3 on Saturday after defeating Montreal and Phoenix by 5-1 scores in their previous two games. Buffalo has lost four straight road games and is 1-4-2 away from the HSBC Arena since the start of February.

Tomas Vanek had his team-leading 33rd goal Saturday, while Drew Stafford and Jochen Hecht also scored.

Lalime stopped 30 of 36 shots against the Senators after going 2-2-1 with a 1.58 GAA in his first five starts since replacing Miller.

Lalime has not faced the Flyers since March 5, 2004 when he played for Ottawa. He is 4-5-0 with five ties and a 2.37 GAA in 14 career games against Philadelphia.

The Sabres have not lost three straight to the Flyers since dropping all four meetings in 2000-01.

2008-2009 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Mar 20 '09PHI 6 at BUF 4M. Knuble
Mar 10 '09BUF 2 at PHI 5M. Richards
Feb 19 '09BUF 3 at PHI 6M. Knuble
Nov 21 '08PHI 3 at BUF 0S. Hartnell
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
D. Roy67243660+03089
T. Vanek58332053-134164
J. Pominville67143347-101451
D. Stafford64192241+72290
D. Moore66122941-17341
J. Spacek6572633+12640
A. Kotalik56131932-72881
T. Connolly33131831+01233
C. MacArthur63121426-83850
P. Gaustad4791524+07431
J. Hecht5591221-132731
D. Paille6071219-82001
C. Rivet4911819-510700
A. Sekera5531316-131611
T. Numminen5521416-42211
T. Lydman6611516-55200
A. Mair657815+29501
M. Afinogenov3731215-121200
M. Ellis41549+31001
H. Tallinder51178-42601
P. Kaleta40426+27700
N. Paetsch21246+02500
C. Butler32033+21600
M. Mancari7112-4400
A. Peters27011-28100
N. Gerbe10011+3400
M. Weber7000-31900
M. Gragnani4000+2200
T. Kennedy1000+0000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
R. Miller5129-16-512415222.50.919
M. Tellqvist167-5-1394122.89.905
P. Lalime204-11-2535562.97.905
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
J. Carter65383068+1750119
M. Richards62264268+264664
S. Gagne62263561+253482
S. Hartnell65242650+1011954
J. Lupul62202242+04854
M. Knuble65231841+65095
K. Timonen6033033+154220
B. Coburn6371623+56930
S. Upshall5571421+56320
M. Carle5951318+42002
G. Metropolit5541014-11510
C. Giroux255813+51210
A. Asham615712+014200
A. Alberts6211112+115200
D. Carcillo573811-1319520
O. Vaananen461910+72200
D. Briere12549-51220
D. Powe43437-12200
L. Sbisa39077-63600
R. Jones32336+121812
A. Nodl31134-12200
J. Gratton19123-25700
J. Kalinski12123-2001
R. Cote53033-415500
L. Kukkonen22022-21000
R. Parent16022+3400
S. Eminger12022+0800
J. Ross10000-4200
S. Downie6000-41100
B. Kane1000+0000
N. Guenin1000+0000
N. Raduns1000+0000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
M. Biron4121-13-510912502.77.913
A. Niittymaki2815-6-5728292.71.913