Having fallen behind 2-0 in seven of their last 10 games, it's pretty obvious the Philadelphia Flyers
need to be better at the start.
"I don't think we started well in the last two games," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette
said. "It hasn't been good. Tonight we'll get a team that probably wants to rip the door off the hinges in Buffalo. Our energy and execution and what we do has got to be spot-on from the time the puck drops. After the first period is over, regardless of what happens, the game's not over, so make sure we're ready for 60 minutes."
Considering the Sabres are desperate for points to keep their hopes alive for making the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Laviolette hopes his team won't have any trouble finding the energy to keep up with the opposition.
"There's never anything easy here, never anything that should be a question as to whether or not you're going to have to work hard or try hard or give a good performance," Laviolette said. "You have to be ready to play. If you're not, you'll probably lose a game."
Laviolette added he was happy with how goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov
came through Tuesday's game and said he'll be back in the net Thursday.
"I think it was good to get him back in there," he said. "He was out for a bit and off the ice for a few days. To get back in there and get work, I think that's a positive thing. He got sharper as the game went on. This is just more work for him to get back in and get going for the playoffs."
And while the Sabres clearly need the wins just to get into the playoffs, the Flyers also could use two wins to close the season. If they beat the Sabres and the Penguins lose in any form to the Rangers, their game Saturday would be for fourth place in the conference and home-ice advantage in the first-round series between the teams. Just getting a point, however, would mean they could finish no worse than fifth in the conference.
"We've talked all along about collecting points and making sure we're ready to play," Laviolette said. "A lot is still at stake for us. Points are important."
Contact Adam Kimelman at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK