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Flyers right back on the road to face Sabres

by Adam Kimelman

FLYERS (26-10-5) at SABRES (18-18-5)


Last 10 --
Philadelphia 7-3-0; Buffalo 5-4-1

Season series -- This is the second of four meetings this season. On Oct. 26, Jeff Carter had 1 goal and 2 assists to lead the Flyers to a 6-3 victory in Philadelphia.

Big Story -- After Saturday's pit stop at home, the Flyers go back on the road for four games, meaning they'll have played nine of 10 on the road when the trip ends. However, they've done OK away from home, winning seven of their last nine away from the Wells Fargo Center.

Team Scope:

Flyers -- It hasn't been easy for coach Peter Laviolette, but he's figured out a way to divide four into three. With Carter, Danny Briere, Mike Richards and Claude Giroux, he's got four centers for three lines. It's all meshed, however, as each player is thriving in his role and the team leads the Eastern Conference.

Briere and Richards have spent the most time in the middle, with Carter and Giroux switching between center and right wing on the same line.

"We just keep moving it around and the guys have been good with it," Laviolette told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "They're all best in the middle of the ice; they all want the middle of the ice. We'll make it work."

Sabres -- Expect to see a lot Ryan Miller in net for the Sabres during the second half of the season. With a favorable schedule -- including just one set of back-to-back games in January -- coach Lindy Ruff believes he can work Miller pretty hard and let him use the days between games as a chance to rest.

"The schedule's been perfect for it," Ruff told the Buffalo News. "With the schedule set up for every other day, it's ideal for getting your workouts and your play. Without back-to-back, we should be in pretty good shape."

Who's Hot -- Briere has 3 goals in his last two games, giving the Flyers center 21 and putting him on pace for his first 40-goal season. … Sabres forward Thomas Vanek has a four-game point-scoring streak. He has 3 goals and 3 assists during the streak.

Injury Report -- Flyers forward Nikolay Zherdev is questionable for Tuesday's game with a strained groin. Defensemen Chris Pronger (foot) and Matt Walker (hip) have started skating on their own, but aren't close to returning. … Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta is questionable for Tuesday with an arm injury.

Stat Pack -- The Flyers lead the Eastern Conference with seven players with at least 10 goals. Only the Red Wings, with eight, have more in the League.

Puck Drop -- There's a lot of smiles in Buffalo right now, and for good reason -- their just-completed 2-0-1 road trip pushed them to .500 for the season and moved them within eight points of a playoff spot at the halfway point of the season.

"It's huge, not only to cap off our first big road trip, and also we're back at .500 here," Drew Stafford told the Buffalo News. "We had a good step there. It's just a matter of carrying into home play next week."

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