Connect with us


Flyers hope to avoid four-game skid without Hart, Couturier against pesky Sabres

(Heather Barry Images, LLC)

After suffering a 5-2 defeat at Wells Fargo Center to the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday night, the Philadelphia Flyers travel to Western New York to finish off the home-and-home series at KeyBank Center on Friday.

The Flyers, for all intents and purposes, played a good hockey game on Wednesday. They outshot the Sabres by a whopping 40-15 count and had plenty of quality scoring chances, but Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen was on his A-game and the Sabres were very opportunistic on offense.

The major storyline from that game was not the score or Luukkonen’s outstanding performance, but Flyers goaltender Carter Hart left the game with a “mid-body injury” as the team designated it with ten minutes to play in the first period. Samuel Ersson took over the rest of the way in goal for Philadelphia, and he will start tonight for the Flyers with former Sabres draft pick Cal Petersen backing him up.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman initially reported late Wednesday right on 32 Thoughts that Hart would miss some time, and Crossing Broad’s Anthony SanFilippo reported on Thursday morning that the Flyers are hopeful he’ll miss just 2-3 weeks while 4-6 weeks was also a possibility. However, the Flyers said that Hart is day-to-day on Friday, so hopefully that spells some good news.

As Hart will miss tonight’s game, so will Sean Couturier. The Flyers’ top center was listed as day-to-day with a lower-body ailment on the injury report. He took a maintenance day on Tuesday but played on Wednesday, but head coach John Tortorella said the injury occurred during the game. Noah Cates will slot onto the top line while Ryan Poehling draws back into the lineup on the fourth line.

Those two injuries have put Philadelphia in a very tough spot in the midst of a three-game losing streak. After a 4-2-1 start to the season, the Flyers have dropped games to Anaheim, Carolina, and Buffalo – all at home – in succession.

On the other side of the ice, the Sabres had a dreadful beginning to the season after entering it with high expectations and playoff hopes. But after going 2-4-0, they have won 3 of their last 4 contests and are beginning to heat up and are trying to carve their way through a surprisingly tough Atlantic Division.

The hottest Sabre of late is Tage Thompson, who has 8 points (4g, 4a) in his last 4 contests, including a goal and 2 assists on Wednesday in Philadelphia. It was his second 3-point game against the Flyers in his career, and he has recorded 11 points (7g, 4a) in 13 career matchups against the Flyers.

Buffalo is on the right track as of late while Philadelphia is trending downward after a hot start. Hopefully the Flyers can shift the momentum in their favor and put an end to their woes tonight on the road.

PHI Record: 4-5-1, 9 pts, 7th in Metropolitan

BUF Record: 5-5-0, 10 pts, 7th in Atlantic 

When: 7:00 pm ET

Where: KeyBank Center, Buffalo, NY

Broadcast Info: NBC Sports Philadelphia, NHL Network, 97.5 The Fanatic

Last Game PHI: 11/1/23, 5-2 L vs. Buffalo 

Last Game BUF: 11/1/23, 5-2 W at Philadelphia 

PHI Goalie: Samuel Ersson (0-2-1, .763 SV%, 4.91 GAA, 0 SO)

BUF Goalie: Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (3-1-0, .926 SV%, 2.60 GAA, 1 SO)

PHI Projected Lineup

#74 Owen Tippett – #27 Noah Cates – #89 Cam Atkinson

#86 Joel Farabee – #21 Scott Laughton – #10 Bobby Brink

#11 Travis Konecny – #48 Morgan Frost– #71 Tyson Foerster

#44 Nicolas Deslauriers – #25 Ryan Poehling  – #19 Garnet Hathaway

#8 Cam York – #6 Travis Sanheim

#24 Nick Seeler – #26 Sean Walker

#5 Egor Zamula – #37 Louie Belpedio

#33 Samuel Ersson

#40 Cal Petersen

Scratches: None

Injuries: #14 Sean Couturier, #18 Marc Staal, #55 Rasmus Ristolainen, #79 Carter Hart

BUF Projected Lineup

#12 Jordan Greenway – #72 Tage Thompson – #15 Brandon Biro

#53 Jeff Skinner – #37 Casey Mittelstadt – #77 J.J. Peterka

#13 Lukáš Rousek – #24 Dylan Cozens – #89 Alex Tuch

#28 Zemgus Girgensons – #19 Peyton Krebs – #21 Kyle Okposo

#26 Rasmus Dahlin – #23 Mattias Samuelsson

#25 Owen Power – #10 Henri Jokiharju

#75 Connor Clifton – #6 Erik Johnson

#1 Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen

#27 Devon Levi

Scratches: #17 Tyson Jost, #71 Victor Olofsson, #78 Jacob Bryson

Injuries: #9 Zach Benson, #22 Jack Quinn, #31 Eric Comrie

News and Notes

– The last time these two clubs faced off in Buffalo was on January 9th, 2023. Samuel Ersson picked up his first NHL shutout behind 28 saves and the Flyers received goals from Zack MacEwen, Joel Farabee, Noah Cates, and Wade Allison in a 4-0 rout.

– Philadelphia is 40-45-8-2 against the Sabres on the road all-time, and they are 22-22-2-2 at KeyBank Center since it opened in 1996.

– The Flyers have not won consecutive games at KeyBank Center since winning three straight from February 27th, 2021 to March 29th, 2021.

– The last time the Flyers recorded consecutive shutouts against Buffalo was also February 27th, 2021 and February 28th, 2021, but Samuel Ersson has an opportunity to change that tonight.

– Among active Flyers, Sean Couturier has the most points against Buffalo with 24 (7g, 17a). Among players in the lineup tonight, Cam Atkinson has 18 points (9g, 9a) in 21 games against the Sabres.

– A victory tonight would give the Flyers their 100th all-time win against the Sabres since Buffalo entered the league in 1970.

Union Forge Vodka proudly serves as the Official Vodka of Flyers Nation. This partnership celebrates the unyielding spirit of Flyers fans and offers a quality spirit that perfectly compliments the team’s essence. Whether celebrating victories or showing resilience, Union Forge Vodka embodies the winning spirit of both the Flyers and their dedicated fans. Stay connected with exciting giveaways by following @unionforge and @flyersnation across all social media platforms.

Managing Editor at Flyers Nation. Proud lifelong supporter of the Philadelphia Flyers and all things hockey related. Steve Mason's #1 fan.

More in Preview