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At the Rink: Sabres at Flyers

by Adam Kimelman

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers had their nine-game point streak ended Tuesday. They believe the key to starting another streak is having short memories.

"You've got to shake it off as quick as possible," Flyers defenseman Mark Streit said. "At this time of the year you always want to win and every point is crucial. At the same time, you need a really short memory. A lot of key games, busy schedule. Things just happen. You don't want to lose, but it happens. You have to turn the page and move on and focus on the next one."

That comes Thursday against the Buffalo Sabres.

The Flyers' 5-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday was their first regulation loss since Jan. 19. Their 6-0-3 stretch got them within six points of the Boston Bruins for the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot into the Stanley Cup Playoffs; the Bruins' shootout loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday leaves the Flyers seven points back with 25 games remaining.

The Flyers beat the Sabres 2-1 in Buffalo on Sunday; forward Michael Raffl scored the winning goal with 7:15 remaining in the third period.

"They gave us a hard time," Streit said of the Sabres. "They played hard. They're really a hard-working team. They maybe don't have a lot of points and they're down in the standings, but they work really hard. They're going to give us a hard time and we have to be at our best."

The Sabres have lost four straight (0-4-1) but have played five straight one-goal games.

"We're in the games," Sabres forward Brian Gionta said. "We have a chance. Now it's a matter of finding a way to get that consistent effort. Now we have to find ways to limit the mistakes that are costing us games. We're getting better, but we're not there yet. You've got to put yourself in a position to get lucky. We're getting to that point. Things will pay off for us, but we have to keep pushing forward."

Here are the projected lineups for each team:


Chris Stewart - Zemgus Girgensons - Tyler Ennis

Matt Moulson - Torrey Mitchell- Brian Gionta

Marcus Foligno - Brian Flynn - Nicolas Deslauriers

Johan Larsson - Matt Ellis - Cody Hodgson

Andre Benoit - Zach Bogosian

Mike Weber - Andrej Meszaros

Nikita Zadorov - Rasmus Ristolainen

Michal Neuvirth

Anders Lindback

Scratched: Tyson Strachan

Injured: Josh Gorges (lower body), Patrick Kaleta (lower body), Cody McCormick (blood clots), Evander Kane (shoulder)


Michael Raffl - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek

Matt Read - Sean Couturier - Wayne Simmonds

Ryan White - Brayden Schenn - R.J. Umberger

Chris VandeVelde - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Vincent Lecavalier

Mark Streit - Nick Schultz

Braydon Coburn - Nicklas Grossmann

Michael Del Zotto - Luke Schenn

Ray Emery

Rob Zepp

Scratched: Zac Rinaldo, Andrew MacDonald, Carlo Colaiacovo

Injured: Kimmo Timonen (blood clots), Steve Mason (knee)

Status report: Mason was off the ice Thursday after skating Wednesday. He had arthroscopic surgery recently on his right knee to repair his meniscus. "We're right on schedule with what we were hoping for with recovery," Mason said. "Still have another week to two weeks to get back in the game. Skated [Wednesday] for the first time and [Thursday] was a scheduled day off the ice to let things calm back down. So far things have gone well." He said he hopes to travel with the team and potentially play on a two-game road trip Feb. 24 at the Carolina Hurricanes and Feb. 26 at the Toronto Maple Leafs. … MacDonald will be a healthy scratch for the fourth straight game. "Obviously it's not a situation anyone wants to be in," he said. "It's the coach's decision. Obviously I want to be out there playing. But at the end of the day it's his call." … Sabres coach Ted Nolan said he was very happy with the pairing of Bogosian and Benoit on Tuesday against the New Jersey Devils. "I told [Benoit] yesterday I thought that was his best game of the year. He looked very comfortable and it looked like a good fit." … Nolan said in two games, Bogosian is setting the example for the rest of the team. "What he did throughout the first couple games he's been here, he's done a tremendous job," Nolan said. "We told him to keep doing what he's doing and everyone else will catch up."

Who's hot: Ennis scored Tuesday against the Devils, and Philadelphia could be a good spot for him to score another one; he scored his first NHL goal in his first NHL game at Wells Fargo Center. In 12 combined regular-season and playoff games in Philadelphia he has four goals and four assists. … Simmonds has four goals and three assists during his five-game point streak.


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