Preview: Sabres at Flyers
Two teams hoping to remain in the playoff race in the Eastern Conference face off Tuesday when the Buffalo Sabres visit the Philadelphia Flyers. Buffalo is six points behind Carolina for the second wild-card spot while Philadelphia trails the Hurricanes by seven and Columbus by eight for third place in the Metropolitan Division.
The Sabres were unable to close the cap Monday as they allowed four consecutive goals in the second period en route to their fifth straight road loss – a 5-3 setback at Toronto. Captain Jack Eichel scored twice to extend his point streak to five games (three goals, four assists) and increase his career high – and team-leading – total to 68 points. Captain Claude Giroux celebrated his 800th NHL game Saturday by scoring 1:59 into overtime as the Flyers posted a 4-3 comeback victory over Pittsburgh at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field in their 2019 Stadium Series matchup. The outdoor contest marked the end of Wayne Simmonds’ 7 2/3-season tenure with the Flyers as the rugged right wing was dealt to Nashville at Monday’s trade deadline.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network, NBCS Philadelphia
ABOUT THE SABRES (29-25-8): Sam Reinhart followed a hat trick against Washington on Saturday with a goal and an assist versus the Maple Leafs while Kyle Okposo registered two hits and blocked a pair of shots in 11 minutes, 40 seconds of ice time after missing four games with a concussion. Defenseman Brandon Montour, who recorded five goals and 20 assists in 62 games with Anaheim this season, is expected to make his debut with the Sabres on Tuesday after being acquired two days earlier. Buffalo made one deal on deadline day Monday, sending blue-liner Nathan Beaulieu to Winnipeg for a sixth-round pick in the June draft.
ABOUT THE FLYERS (29-26-7): In return for Simmonds, Philadelphia received right wing Ryan Hartman and a conditional 2020 fourth-round draft pick from the Predators. The 24-year-old Hartman, who scored a career-high 19 goals with Chicago in 2016-17, recorded 10 tallies and as many assists in 64 games with Nashville this season. Defenseman Radko Gudas will return to the lineup Tuesday after serving a two-game suspension for a high-sticking infraction against Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov.
1. Flyers G Brian Elliott, who made his first start – and third appearance – since Nov. 15 because of a lower-body injury Saturday, is expected to get the call again versus Buffalo.
2. Buffalo will be playing on the road for the fifth time in six games after beginning the month with seven straight home contests.
3. Philadelphia D Samuel Morin (knee) was recalled from his conditioning assignment with Lehigh Valley of the American Hockey League and practiced Monday but has yet to be activated from injured reserve.