HERE'S WHAT HAPPENED
Travis Sanheim potted his first NHL goal and Valtteri Filppula scored the game-winner near the end of the second period as the Flyers edged the Sabres, 2-1, to extend their winning streak to five games.
The Sabres got on the board early after they capitalized on a broken play down low between Brian Elliott and the defense. Zemgus Girgensons stole the puck and found Ryan O'Reilly, who one-timed it into the empty net. The Flyers, however, struck back less than three minutes later with Sanheim's first to send the teams into the locker all square.
After skating for nearly 18 minutes of scoreless hockey in the second frame, Filppula finished a pretty passing play from Michael Raffl and Jakub Voracek to give the Flyers the one-goal lead heading into the third.Video: BUF@PHI: Filppula bangs one-timer into the top corner
The Flyers held the Sabres scoreless the rest of the way with just seven shots in the third period, and 20 in total, as Elliott made 19 saves. Sabres starter Robin Lehner stopped 25 of 27 shots in the loss.
Tonight's turning point came early in the first period in a "what could've been" scenario. The Sabres struck early to take a 1-0 lead off a miscue behind the net between Elliott and the defensemen... Another miscue nearly led to a 2-0 Sabres lead if it weren't for rookie Nolan Patrick, who was in position and made a great save by the side of the net to keep the puck out. Moments later Sanheim tallied his first, and the Sabres never did get that second goal.
1. Travis Sanheim: Had three shots on goal and recorded 14:23 to go along with his first NHL tally.
2. Ryan O'Reilly: Scored the lone Sabres goal and led the team with four shots in total.
3. Brian Elliott: Has backstopped the Flyers to all five of their wins during the streak, allowing two goals or less in each.
STATS & STORYLINES
RICK FLAIR ROBE
For his game-winning goal vs. Toronto, Sean Couturier had the right to award the Ric Flair Robe to tonight's Flyer of the Game, which went to Travis Sanheim.Video: BUF@PHI: Sanheim pots one-timer for first NHL goal
ABOUT THESE FIVE
The Flyers have won five games in a row, all in regulation, for the first time since Oct. 26-Nov. 11, 2010. It's their first five-game winning streak of any kind since the 10-game streak last November/December.
Per the NHL statistical database, this is only the fifth occasion in NHL history that a team has posted five or more consecutive wins immediately following a winless stretch of at least 10 games. The other teams:
San Jose Sharks (2005)
Chicago Blackhawks (1995)
Calgary Flames (1993)
Toronto Maple Leafs (1967)
SANHEIM STRIKES BACK
Another year, and another first NHL goal from a Flyers rookie against the Buffalo Sabres... Sanheim scored his first NHL goal by pinching in from the point after seeing Dale Weise control the puck down low and fired a one-timer top shelf on Robin Lehner.
"It feels great. Obviously, it was a big goal in the game and I'm just excited to finally get the first one. Weiser was coming behind the net and I saw my winger kind of cheat to the wall and I had a seam down the middle. He made a great pass and I was pretty excited that it went into the back of the net."
Although he wasn't tested often, Brian Elliott came up with big saves when the team needed it. Perhaps none bigger than on an Evander Kane breakaway at 17:10 of the second period. Kane was going low stick side, but Elliott held his ground with Kane cutting across and stuck out a pad to make the save and keep it at 1-1. It was a momentum shifter as Filppula tallied his goal seconds later to grab the lead and eventual game winner.Video: BUF@PHI: Elliott denies Kane's shorthanded chance
Michael Raffl appeared in his 300th game in the NHL - he also extended his point streak to five straight games (3g-3a)... Ivan Provorov logged the most minutes in this game of any player at 27:55 - it's his eighth game with 27+ TOI - he also led the team with six hits and four shots on goal... Andrew MacDonald led all players in the game with five blocked shots.
The Flyers play the third of their five-game December homestand when they host the Dallas Stars on Saturday. Fans should get to this one early to catch a special, never-before-seen, holiday light show before puck drop. (7pm on NBCSP & 97.5 The Fanatic)
5. THEY SAID ITVideo: Voracek on 5th straight winVideo: Hakstol on 5th straight win