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game recap

Flyers defeat Sabres for ninth straight win, remain tied for first

Giroux scores twice, Hart makes 38 saves to help Philadelphia keep pace in Metropolitan

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Giroux's pretty backhander

BUF@PHI: Giroux nets backhander from the doorstep

Claude Giroux kicks the puck to his stick and rips a backhander past Carter Hutton in front, giving the Flyers a 1-0 lead in the 2nd period

  • 00:44 •

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers won their ninth straight game, 3-1 against the Buffalo Sabres at Wells Fargo Center on Saturday, and remained tied for first place in the Metropolitan Division.

Claude Giroux scored two goals, and Jakub Voracek had two assists for Philadelphia (41-20-7), which has its longest winning streak since it won 10 in a row from Nov. 27-Dec. 14, 2016. Carter Hart made 38 saves.

"We didn't deserve to win tonight," Voracek said. "We were really flat throughout the 60 minutes. Hart made some huge stops when we needed it, and we got lucky that we won."

 

[WATCH: All Sabres vs. Flyers highlights]

 

The Flyers are tied with the Washington Capitals, five points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Metropolitan.

Dominik Kahun scored for Buffalo (29-31-8), which has lost six games in a row, its longest streak since losing six straight Dec. 28, 2015-Jan. 8, 2016. Carter Hutton made 21 saves.

Video: BUF@PHI: Giroux finishes give-and-go with Voracek

It was the seventh straight game the Sabres scored two goals or fewer.

"I think we played overall a really solid game," forward Victor Olofsson said. "We kept their shots down too. Obviously, it's frustrating. I think it comes down to special teams. Our power play (0-for-4) has just got to be better."

It was Hart's seventh straight win. He is 9-1-0 with a 1.91 goals-against average and .934 save percentage in 10 games since returning from an abdominal strain sustained during practice Jan. 14 that kept him out for one month.

"It's just playing the game and having fun," Hart said. "That's the biggest thing for us right now. We're enjoying coming to the rink."

Hart made seven saves against the Sabres power play to help the Flyers go 4-for-4 on the penalty kill.

"I think we're getting used to that," Voracek said. "He's been rock solid since the beginning of the year. He was the main reason why we won the game, why we even had a chance going into the third to find a way."

Giroux scored his second goal at 9:28 of the third period to give Philadelphia a 2-1 lead. Voracek's centering pass went off Buffalo defenseman Jake McCabe's stick, and Giroux one-timed it.

Joel Farabee made it 3-1 at 14:49 when he blocked a Hutton clearing attempt and knocked the puck between the goalie's feet.

Kahun tied the game 1-1 with 3:06 remaining in the second period when he one-timed a pass from Olofsson.

The Sabres' 39 shots on goal were their most since they had since 44 against the Ottawa Senators on Dec. 23.

"We won a lot of battles tonight, and just that final push, our offensive players just are lacking confidence right now," Buffalo coach Ralph Kruger said. "The mojo is not there where the pucks are bouncing in; they're bouncing out. We haven't earned the puck luck of late."

Giroux gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead at 10:04 of the second. He reached back with his left skate to stop a Voracek pass and scored with a backhand.

Video: BUF@PHI: Farabee steals puck, slides shot past Hutton

 

They said it

"Any time you look at it from the big picture, you can break down the games. I think there's a lot of positive. But the overlying sort of bad taste in your mouth comes from the results. There's definitely positive things we can build on, but right now it's frustrating." -- Sabres forward Jeff Skinner

"Good teams, they find ways to win, and a lot of nights when they do win, it's the goaltender that made the difference. He's the one player on any team on any given night that can make a huge difference. Tonight, there's no doubt that Carter [Hart] was that difference." -- Flyers coach Alain Vigneault

 

Need to know

The Flyers are two victories from tying the Tampa Bay Lightning for longest winning streak in the NHL this season (11, from Jan. 29-Feb. 17). ... Voracek has 10 assists during a five-game point streak. ... Giroux has 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) in the past 14 games. ... The Sabres are 0-for-17 on the power play in their past seven games. ... Buffalo reunited its top line from last season of Skinner with Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart for the first time this season, and they combined for 15 shots on goal, including six each by Skinner and Reinhart.

 

What's next

Sabres: Host the Washington Capitals on Monday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, TVAS, MSG-B, NBCSWA, NHL.TV)

Flyers: Host the Boston Bruins on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, NBCSP, NESN, NHL.TV)

Video: Giroux's two goals lead Flyers to ninth straight win

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