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Preview: Flyers at Sabres

Philadelphia hoping to do better at closing games; Robin Lehner out for Buffalo with illness

by Joe Yerdon / NHL.com Correspondent

FLYERS (21-15-6) at SABRES (15-15-9)

7 p.m. ET; MSG-B, CSN-PH, NHL.TV

 

Flyers team scope

The Philadelphia Flyers are 2-5-3 in the past 10 games since their 10-game winning streak ended, including a 2-1 overtime loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday. Since the Christmas break the Flyers are 1-3-2 and trying to find ways to close games better. "I'm always saying that long breaks kill us," forward Jakub Voracek said. "That's what happened. We went right on our long road trip after and when you think about it we lost to St. Louis and we were up with 10 minutes left. We lost to San Jose, we were down by one goal with five minutes left. We went to Anaheim, we completely outplayed them, outshot them, and we lost in a shootout. Wins and losses are going to happen like that. … We just have to find a way to win those games." Voracek has been one of the more consistent Flyers recently with two goals and two assists in the past three games. "Really from Day 1 of [training] camp Jake's been a powerful player," coach Dave Hakstol said. "He's been good with the puck and it's been hard to take the puck from him. And when he's skating and moving he's one of the most difficult forwards to defend in the League. He's been that a lot of nights for us." Steve Mason will start in goal.

 

Sabres team scope

Buffalo Sabres goaltender Robin Lehner is out because of an illness. Anders Nilsson will start and a goaltender will be called up from Rochester of the American Hockey League to be the backup, likely Linus Ullmark. Nilsson has started two of the past three games. "It helps a little bit to play more consistent and play more often," Nilsson said. "Usually you think a little bit less and just go out there and play." The Sabres see their come-from-behind 4-3 win against the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday as a potential turning point in their season, with the hope that the lessons learned in that game carry through for the rest of the season. "It starts with just how we start this game [Tuesday]," center Ryan O'Reilly said. "It's really important that we come out with that same energy and that mindset that we're not thinking, we're playing. I think the last two games we've got too much in our head thinking and you can see it. … That's what we have to establish right away, that this time of season … we have a good idea what we're going to see and it's about getting competitive and winning battles right away and that's what we have to do." Center Jack Eichel will play his 100th NHL game. He has 32 goals and 38 assists in his first 99 games. "You start to get to 100, 200 games and you're starting to be a veteran player," coach Dan Bylsma said. "To think he's already got his 100th, he's gotten it fast."

 

Flyers projected lineup

Michael Raffl -- Claude Giroux -- Matt Read

Dale Weise -- Brayden Schenn -- Wayne Simmonds

Travis Konecny -- Sean Couturier -- Jakub Voracek

Chris VandeVelde -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Roman Lyubimov

Ivan Provorov -- Andrew MacDonald

Michael Del Zotto -- Radko Gudas

Brandon Manning -- Shayne Gostisbehere

Steve Mason

Michal Neuvirth

Scratched: Boyd Gordon, Nick Cousins, Nick Schultz

Injured: Mark Streit (shoulder)

 

Sabres projected lineup

William Carrier -- Ryan O'Reilly -- Kyle Okposo

Marcus Foligno -- Jack Eichel -- Brian Gionta

Evander Kane -- Sam Reinhart -- Justin Bailey

Nicolas Deslauriers -- Zemgus Girgensons -- Matt Moulson

Jake McCabe -- Rasmus Ristolainen

Zach Bogosian -- Cody Franson

Justin Falk -- Taylor Fedun

Anders Nilsson

Linus Ullmark

Scratched: Derek Grant

Injured: Robin Lehner (illness), Josh Gorges (hip), Johan Larsson (wrist), Dmitry Kulikov (lower back), Tyler Ennis (groin)

 

Status report

Gorges did not skate Tuesday. He was a late scratch against the Jets on Saturday because of a re-aggravation of a hip injury he sustained against the Boston Bruins on Dec. 31.

 

Who's hot

Schenn has one goal and one assist during a two game point streak. Provorov has an assist in two straight games. … Foligno has a goal in two straight games. O'Reilly has one goal and three assists during a two-game point streak. 

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