The Flyers have won four of their last five games and their 4-2-1 record is the best start to the season in seven games since the 2011-12 season… The Flyers also own a 3-1-0 mark on home ice… They are tied for the NHL lead (with Montreal) for fewest goals allowed at home (4) and are also tied with Montreal for the NHL lead with the fewest allowed goals in the third period (2) - The Flyers have not allowed a goal in the third period in their last five games and six of their overall seven games on the year… The Flyers are tied for third in the NHL on fewest even strength goals allowed (10)… The Flyers have allowed just one goal on the penalty kill at home this season, stopping 15 of 16 times shorthanded… The Flyers currently sit sixth in the Eastern Conference standings, but have at least two games in hand on four of the five teams ahead of them.
Buffalo comes into tonight a much different team than the one that finished last in the NHL standings for two straight seasons… They have added Dan Bylsma as their new head coach, made trades for Evander Kane, Ryan O’Reilly and now have the No. 2 overall picks in the last two draft years in their line-up (Sam Reinhart & Jack Eichel)… O’Reilly leads the team in scoring with seven points (3g-4a) in eight games… The Sabres do have two significant injuries to the line-up however: Evander Kane is out 4-6 weeks with a knee injury, while goaltender Robin Lehner has missed seven of their eight games with a high ankle sprain… The Sabres have scored 13 of their 15 goals on the year in the second (6) and third (7) periods… Buffalo has also outshot their opponents in six of their first eight games this season - Last season, the Sabres hadn’t outshot their opponents six times until their 71st game.
Briere was the prized free agent acquisition that helped the Flyers to a 39-point turnaround in 2007-08 from the previous season… He recorded 72 points in 79 games that year to help lead the Flyers to the Eastern Conference Final… Overall as a Flyer, he retires with 124 goals and 159 assists for 283 points in 364 games, but will be remembered for his clutch performances in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, where he recorded 36 goals and 32 assists for 68 points in 62 postseason games… He ranks second all-time in Flyers history with nine game winning goals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, including four game-winners in one postseason when he led the entire NHL in the 2010 Playoffs with 30 points in 23 games - which also set a new franchise record… In 15 NHL seasons with five teams (Phoenix, Buffalo, Philadelphia, Montreal & Colorado) Briere posted 307 goals and 389 assists for 696 points in 973 NHL games and added another 116 points (53g-63a) in 124 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
Wayne Simmonds has a four-game point streak entering tonight, posting a goal and three assists in that span… He has also recorded three shots on goal in each of his last four games… Simmonds has recorded at least a point in five of the Flyers first seven games of the season and his five points are tied for the team lead in scoring… Only one of his five points have come on the power play (one assist)… Against the Sabres, Simmonds has three goals and 10 points in 16 career games, including two assists in the three-game season series last year.
Tonight is the first chance Flyers fans will get a look at the No. 2 overall pick in last year’s much hyped NHL Draft… Eichel immediately signed an entry-level contract as an 18-year-old after being drafted out of Boston University where he recorded 71 points (26g-45a) in 40 games to lead all NCAA players and take home the Hobey Baker Award, becoming the second freshman ever to earn the award (Paul Kariya, 1992-93)… So far in his rookie campaign, Eichel has recorded three points, all goals, in his first eight games… He averages 19:31 of ice time per-game, which leads all rookies in the NHL.