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Sabres at Flyers preview

Buffalo looks to end five-game skid; Philadelphia eyes ninth straight victory, tie for division lead

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / Deputy Managing Editor

SABRES (29-30-8) at FLYERS (40-20-7)



The Game

The Philadelphia Flyers will go for their ninth straight win and try to regain a share of first place in the Metropolitan Division when they host the Buffalo Sabres at Wells Fargo Center on Saturday.

A victory would tie Philadelphia for first place in the division with the Washington Capitals, who won 5-2 at the Pittsburgh Penguins earlier Saturday. It would also give the Flyers their longest winning streak since they won 10 in a row from Nov. 27-Dec. 14, 2016. 

Goalie Carter Hart is expected to start for Philadelphia, which is 17-4-1 in its past 22 games. Hart is 6-0-0 with a 1.83 goals-against average and .935 save percentage in his past six starts and is 19-2-2 with a 1.64 GAA and .942 save percentage in 23 home games this season.

The Sabres, on a season-long five-game losing streak, have scored two goals or fewer in their past six games (1-5-0).


Players to watch

Sabres center Jack Eichel has five goals and two assists in a five-game point streak against Philadelphia. 

Flyers forward Jakub Voracek has eight assists during a four-game point streak.


They said it

"It's just about getting our offense going and digging for combinations that can make that possible. We need more than one line to go here with the opposition that are coming at us but that would definitely be a potential option." -- Sabres coach Ralph Kruger on putting forward Jeff Skinner and center Jack Eichel on the same line Saturday

"If you don't respect the game it's not going to respect you. And they've got Jack Eichel over there. I don't think anyone is going to look past this game. And we're on a winning streak and it's a lot of fun to keep winning." -- Flyers center Kevin Hayes


Sabres projected lineup

Jeff Skinner -- Jack Eichel -- Sam Reinhart

Victor Olofsson -- Marcus Johansson -- Dominik Kahun

Jimmy Vesey -- Curtis Lazar -- Wayne Simmonds

Zemgus Girgensons -- Johan Larsson -- Kyle Okposo

Brandon Montour -- Rasmus Ristolainen

Rasmus Dahlin -- Colin Miller

Jake McCabe -- Henri Jokiharju

Carter Hutton

Linus Ullmark

Scratched: John Gilmour, Michael Frolik

Injured: Tage Thompson (upper body), Vladimir Sobotka (lower body), Lawrence Pilut (illness)


Flyers projected lineup

Claude Giroux -- Sean Couturier -- Jakub Voracek

Joel Farabee -- Kevin Hayes -- Travis Konecny

Scott Laughton -- Derek Grant -- Tyler Pitlick

Michael Raffl -- Nate Thompson -- Nicolas Aube-Kubel

Ivan Provorov -- Matt Niskanen

Travis Sanheim -- Philippe Myers

Robert Hagg -- Justin Braun

Carter Hart

Brian Elliott

Scratched: Shayne Gostisbehere

Injured: Nolan Patrick (migraine disorder), James van Riemsdyk (finger)


Status report

The Sabres did not have a morning skate. Girgensons didn't practice Friday because of a lower-body injury but will play. ... Pilut, a defenseman, will not play after missing practice Friday. ... The Sabres sent goalie Jonas Johansson to Rochester of the American Hockey League on Friday. Gilmour, a defenseman, was recalled from Rochester on Saturday but will not play. ... Patrick was a full participant in the Flyers morning skate but the forward remains out.


Stat pack

Simmonds needs one point for 500 in the NHL. ... If Miller plays, it would be his 300th NHL game. ... Giroux has 37 points (eight goals, 29 assists) in 37 games against Buffalo. … Grant has five points (one goal, four assists) in a three-game point streak.

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