GAME: Buffalo Sabres (19-24-5-1) at Philadelphia Flyers (23-11-10-5).
TIME: Saturday, 1 p.m. EST.
Although Keith Primeau was a surprise selection to the All-Star team, he's
proving his worth to the Philadelphia Flyers.
The resurgent Flyers try to make it four wins in five games since their
captain returned to the lineup when they face the Buffalo Sabres.
With Primeau sidelined with a broken thumb earlier this month, the Flyers
went 0-4-1-1. Since the big center has gotten back on the ice, Philadelphia has
won three of four to extend its lead over New Jersey in the Atlantic Division.
Despite recording only five goals and 12 assists in 42 games, Primeau was
rewarded with an All-Star selection because of his effective checking style and
"One, it's humbling," said Primeau, who has four points since returning to
the lineup. "I didn't expect it. It came out of left field. It's extremely
rewarding. I know how important my role is in the locker room for the way we
play and the way we play as a team."
Primeau played a key role in Philadelphia's 4-2 victory over the New York
Rangers on Thursday. He had two assists while playing on a line with Simon
Gagne and Sami Kapanen, who each had a goal and an assist.
"That whole game looked like our hockey club from October and November,"
Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock said. "Now people can say we won three of our last
four instead of all the negatives that are rolling around here."
Mark Recchi and John LeClair scored power-play goals for Philadelphia, which
had been 3-for-35 with a manpower advantage in 10 games since scoring five
times on the power play Dec. 30 in St. Louis.
With Jeff Hackett still suffering from vertigo, Robert Esche will likely
make his fifth straight start in net for the Flyers.
The Sabres earned a rare 3-2 road victory over Boston on Thursday, as
Miroslav Satan scored two goals late in the third period.
Daniel Briere had two assists and Martin Biron stopped 23 shots for Buffalo,
which had lost three straight overall and was 0-5-1 in its last six on the
"We fought through 10 minutes of adversity in the third period and showed a
lot of character in coming back to win the hockey game," Sabres coach Lindy
Ruff said. "We really could have ran away with the game in the first 40
minutes. We missed a lot of great opportunities."
Buffalo is 2-7-3 in its last 12 visits to Philadelphia.