PHILADELPHIA – A later puck drop means the Buffalo Sabres will have a little bit more time to prepare for their matchup against the Philadelphia Flyers.
A pregame ceremony honoring Eric Desjardins’ induction into the Flyers Hall of Fame will push the start time back to 8 p.m. The Tops Game Night pregame show will begin at 7:30 p.m. on MSG-B and Bell. The game can also be heard live on WGR 550.
It’ll be the third and final meeting between the two clubs this season. The Flyers have won both games so far, most recently on Sunday in Buffalo. Philadelphia took home a 2-1 victory thanks to a game-winning goal in the third period by Michal Raffl. The Austrian wing had the winner in the first content as well.
Buffalo is currently on a stretch in which seven of their past nine games have been decided by one goal. They’re 2-6-1 over that span and know that if they want to change that, they can’t have long-lasting lapses where a majority of the play is in their own end.
“It’s like we’ve been talking about for a long stretch here. We’ve had really good part of games; we just haven’t put it together for 60 many times,” Sabres forward Tyler Ennis said after the morning skate at Wells Fargo Center. “We’ve got a good lineup. We’ve just got to come out hard, come out strong and that’ll set the tone for the rest of the game. But we need 60 minutes tonight.”
Ennis scored on Tuesday in New Jersey and has six points (3+3) in his past six road games, dating back to Jan. 18 at Detroit.
He’s also had a lot of success in the City of Brotherly Love. Ennis has six points (2+4) in eight career road games in Philadelphia. It’s also where he scored his first career goal on Nov. 14, 2009 in his NHL debut and the overtime winner in Game 5 of the 2011 Eastern Conference Semifinals.
“The [Philadelphia] fans are intense. They can be mean. That makes it fun,” Ennis said. “There’s good energy in here and hopefully we can have a good one tonight.”
Buffalo’s lineup will remain unchanged. Michal Neuvirth will start in goal and defenseman Tyson Strachan will serve as a healthy scratch.
Zach Bogosian played a team-high 29:14 on Tuesday against the Devils, his second game with the Sabres since being acquired in a trade on Feb. 11. He skated 24:49 in his first game, setting a Sabres record for minutes played in a debut.
Bogosian is playing in all situations and filling a big role with Josh Gorges injured for an indefinite period of time and with Tyler Myers now in Winnipeg.
The play of Bogosian has impressed Sabres coach Ted Nolan and he thinks his style and attitude can be contagious.
“What he did throughout the first couple games he’s [played] here, he’s done a tremendous job,” Nolan said. “The only thing we told him was to keep doing the same thing and everybody else will catch up.”
He’s already helping make those around him on the ice better. Nolan thought that Bogosian’s defensive partner Andre Benoit had his best game of the season against New Jersey.
Benoit played 20:41 on Tuesday and he’s relishing the chance to step up.
“I look at it as an opportunity to play more minutes and play a bigger role,” Benoit said. “I just want to make sure I keep it going and can stay in that position for as long as possible.”
80 Chris Stewart – 28 Zemgus Girgensons – 63 Tyler Ennis
26 Matt Moulson – 17 Torrey Mitchell – 12 Brian Gionta
82 Marcus Foligno – 65 Brian Flynn – 44 Nicolas Deslauriers
22 Johan Larsson – 37 Matt Ellis – 19 Cody Hodgson
61 Andre Benoit – 47 Zach Bogosian
51 Nikita Zadorov – 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
6 Mike Weber – 41 Andrej Meszaros
34 Michal Neuvirth
35 Anders Lindback
Scratched: 4 Josh Gorges (lower-body injury), 24 Tyson Strachan, 36 Patrick Kaleta (lower-body injury)
Injured Reserve: 8 Cody McCormick (blood clots), 9 Evander Kane (shoulder)