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POSTGAME 5: Nine Lives

Giroux scores a pair, Hart shuts the door in 3-1 win over Sabres for ninth straight victory

by Bill Meltzer @BillMeltzer

HERE'S WHAT HAPPENED
The Philadelphia Flyers' winning steak was extended to nine games as they skated to a 3-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres at the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday night. 

The victory was anything but easy, as the Flyers were outplayed for most of the game. Goaltending, penalty kiling and two vital shifts by the top line pulled the team through on this night.

After a scoreless first period, Claude Giroux (20th goal) got the Flyers on the board first. Dominik Kahun (12th) answered back before the end of the frame, as the teams went to the second intermission tied at 1-1. Giroux struck again (21st) at 9:28 of the third period, and Joel Farabee (8th) added some much-needed insurance at 14:49.

Carter Hart was nothing short of phenomenal in goal for the Flyers, stopping 38 of 39 shots with a host of very difficult saves along the way. Until a late-game mistake, Buffalo's Carter Hutton played well, but took the loss with 21 saves on 24 shots.

Three Stars:
1st: Carter Hart (38 of 39 saves)
2nd: Claude Giroux (2g)
3rd: Jakub Voracek (2a)

TURNING POINT
With the score tied at 1-1, the Flyers seemed to be hanging by a thread in the third period. For the second time in the game, the Flyers' top line stepped up at a crucial juncture. Giroux took a pass from Voracek and buried his second goal of the game. The first was a backhander.Video: BUF@PHI: Giroux nets backhander from the doorstep

MELTZER'S TAKE
1) The best thing about the first period from a Flyers standpoint was the play of Carter Hart. He was called upon to make 13 saves, including several tough ones by Sam Reinhart, Zemgus Girgensons and an attempted bank-in by Jack Eichel.

2) Throughout the Flyers winning streak, the team had done a really good job of playing as cohesive five-man units and putting shots on net when there were open looks. Neither was the case for Philly in a sloppy first period. They missed the net five times. Back-to-back power plays went by the wayside. There was very little Philly attack over the latter half of the period. Shots were 13-4 Sabres, attempts were 17-13 Sabres, high-danger scoring chances were 4-2 Sabres. 

3) The second period didn't go much better than the first for the Flyers. A nice individual play on the rush by Nicolas Aube-Kubel was the Flyers first meaningful scoring chance since fairly early in the game. Finally, the hard work paid off, as Giroux used his skate and then deposited a backhander into the net at 10:04. Jakub Voracek and Travis Sanheim earned the assists.

4) The Giroux goal didn't change the momentum very much. The Flyers remained out-of-synch and spending too much time in the defensive zone. Hart was the Flyers' best player in this period, too. But he had no chance on Kahun's wide-open slam-dunk at 16:54 after a pass from Victor Olofsson. Buffalo won battle after battle.Video: BUF@PHI: Farabee steals puck, slides shot past Hutton

5) The Flyers spent much of the third period in penalty trouble, but the PK units and Hart got them through it. Giroux's strike off Voracek's second assist of the game put the Flyers ahead again, deserved or not. Then Hutton made a huge mistake with the puck in the crease, and Farabee made him pay immediately.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING

* The Flyers ran their winning streak to nine in-a-row, marking the first nine-game streak since the 2016-17 season and just their seventh streak of nine straight wins in franchise history.

* The Flyers have also outscored their opponent 39-17, but had their eight-game streak of scoring 4+ goals snapped in the process. 

* Carter Hart improved his record to 20-2-2 on home ice - he is the first Flyers goaltender to win 20 games at home since Steve Mason in 2013-14 and just the third Flyers goaltender to win 20 games at home in the last 32 years.

* Claude Giroux recorded his 20th (and 21st) goals of the year - it's his third straight 20-goal season and his eighth 20-goal season of his career.Video: BUF@PHI: Giroux finishes give-and-go with Voracek

* Giroux also has 10 points (6g-4a) in his last five games against the Sabres.

* Jake Voracek has a five-game assist streak - recording 10 helpers in that span.

* The Flyers end their three-game homestand when they take on the NHL leading Boston Bruins. Puck drop at the Wells Fargo Center is 7 p.m. on NBCSP and 97.5 The Fanatic.

THEY SAID IT
Video: Hear from Flyers coach following win over BUFVideo: Hear from Farabee, Giroux and Hart following win

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