Preview: Sabres (5-17-1) vs Flyers (8-10-2)
Date: Thursday, November 21st 2013
Buffalo Sabres vs Philadelphia Flyers Preview
It’s the first of three times this season the Philadelphia Flyers and Buffalo Sabres will meet. The Sabres won two of the three games the teams played last season, but in their only game in Philadelphia, the Flyers won 3-2.
The Flyers continued their strong play with a 5-2 win against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday that moved them out of seventh place in the Metropolitan Division and put them two points behind the third-place New York Rangers for the final automatic spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
With back-to-back 90-point seasons, Sean Couturier was considered one of the most offensively gifted players in the 2011 NHL Draft class when the Flyers chose him with the eighth pick.
However, that offense hasn’t been seen as much a quarter of the way through his third NHL season. After scoring 13 goals as a rookie, he had four in 46 games last season, and snapped a 25-game goal drought when he scored in the second period of the Flyers’ 5-2 win against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday.
Couturier has contributed in other ways – he’s the Flyers’ best defensive forward and his plus-2 rating is the best among the team’s forwards who have been in Philadelphia all season. Now the hope is this sudden burst of offense can bring him some added confidence.
The Sabres still are trying to adjust to how interim coach Ted Nolan wants them to play, especially defensively. Practice has involved lots of work on positioning and communicating.
After sending out three young players Tuesday, the Sabres will give two others a chance Thursday against the Flyers.
Nolan told reporters in Buffalo that Luke Adam and Brayden McNabb, recalled from Rochester of the American Hockey League, would be in the lineup Thursday. Adam played left wing on a line with center Zemgus Girgensons and right wing Steve Ott, while McNabb split time with a few different defensemen.
Adam is tied for the AHL lead with 13 goals in 15 games, while McNabb has 12 points and a plus-5 rating in 15 games. Nolan said strong play is why they’re skating with the Sabres now.
Flyers captain Claude Giroux has two goals, three assists and a plus-5 rating in the past five games; in his first 15, he had had seven points, all assists, and a minus-11 rating.
The Sabres and the Flyers report no injured players.
Buffalo Sabres – Ryan Miller (not confirmed yet)
Philadelphia Flyers – Steve Mason (not confirmed yet)
Buffalo Sabres vs Philadelphia Flyers Prediction
This is a small NHL pick and it will NOT be documented on our overall NHL record.
The Flyers seem to be picking things back up as where the Sabres are in rebuild mode. Buffalo is calling up the young guys from the AHL to see exactly what they have on the farm. To me I expect these young kids to step up knowing this is their chance to make the Sabres squad if they can impressive management.
With that being said the Flyers should not be a -190 home favorite even though they are 4-0-1 in their last 5 games. I am a Flyers fan and I don’t expect them to beat Buffalo as easily as Vegas thinks.
Expect a tight low scoring game and don’t be surprised if the Sabres win.
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