After arduous week, Flyers set for Sabres’ visit

NHL Hockey
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The Philadelphia Flyers will look for their second consecutive victory when they host the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday.

The Flyers shook off a three-game losing streak on the road and returned home Tuesday to defeat the Anaheim Ducks 4-1 behind goals from Claude Giroux, David Kase, Jakub Voracek and Sean Couturier. Giroux, Voracek and Couturier combined for just one goal in the three road losses.

Second-year goaltender Carter Hart was also spectacular, with a season-best 41 saves, as the Flyers played with heavy hearts following the diagnosis that Oskar Lindblom is out for the season with a rare form of bone cancer.

The Flyers will attempt to build on the positive home momentum against a potent Buffalo team. Philadelphia is 11-2-4 at home.

“The road trip didn’t go the way we wanted it to,” Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said. “We went through a very challenging and personal situation that we’re going to go through in the next month. In that, we have jobs to do, we have work to do and it’s important that we all do it.”

Giroux added an assist against the Ducks and played one of his most inspired games of late.

“It was a bad week — physically, mentally,” said Giroux, the Flyers’ captain. “Anything that could have gone wrong went wrong. We’re not happy with the way we’ve been playing, but you know what, with the position we’re in right now, we’re still in a position to succeed.”

The Flyers remain quite banged up, with Scott Laughton, Tyler Pitlick, Nolan Patrick and Michael Raffl all out against the Sabres. But forward Travis Konecny returned after a three-game absence with a concussion and performed at a high level against the Ducks.

The Sabres enter following a tough 5-3 loss Tuesday on the road against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Sabres fell behind 3-0 entering the third period and got within 4-3 before coming up a bit short.

Jack Eichel and Rasmus Dahlin each scored one goal and added one assist, while Kyle Okposo also scored. Victor Olofsson had two assists, and goaltender Linus Ullmark was inconsistent but made 28 saves.

Buffalo will arrive in Philadelphia with a 16-12-7 record and with one of the hottest players in the league, as Eichel has produced at least one point in 17 consecutive games, the NHL’s longest active streak. Eichel has 16 goals and 15 assists in those 17 games, but he wasn’t concerned with statistics following the loss at Toronto.

“The battle level probably wasn’t there,” Eichel said of falling behind by three goals. “You’ve got to give them credit. They played well.”

If the Sabres can find scoring throughout their lineup and not just solely from Eichel, the No. 2 overall pick in 2015, they’ll be that much more dangerous.

“We have to push to find deeper scoring in the lineup for sure,” Sabres head coach Ralph Krueger said. “It’s excellent that Jack does that. He is playing at the top of his game, and it’s a pleasure to stand behind him every night here and see how much heart and soul he’s got.

“But in a game like this, we need more depth. We need the whole lineup to come through to be able to get points at the end.”

–Field Level Media

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