A pair of teams that are running out of time to prove themselves playoff worthy will meet Saturday in Buffalo, as the Sabres host the Philadelphia Flyers in an afternoon clash at First Niagara Center.
The Sabres enter Saturday with 38 points, placing them one ahead of Philadelphia in the East standings and six points out of a playoff spot. Both teams head into this matinee on losing streaks, with Buffalo dropping its last two and the Flyers on a three-game skid.
Philadelphia is in danger of missing the postseason for the first time since the spring of 2007, while the Sabres haven't qualified for the playoffs since 2011.
Buffalo has been outscored by a 9-2 margin over its last two games and was dealt a 5-1 setback in Thursday's home loss to Montreal. It was not a good way for the Sabres to start a three-game homestand, as they allowed the Canadiens to score twice in each of the first two periods to take a 4-0 lead. The victory also clinched a playoff spot for the Habs.
Brian Flynn scored the lone goal of the game for the Sabres. Ryan Miller gave up four goals on 32 shots over the first two periods, while Jhonas Enroth stopped 9-of-10 shots in the third.
"We were playing a team that was well organized and we weren't sharp," said Miller. "We didn't play our game plan and we got our butts kicked, that's it."
Buffalo got itself into penalty trouble time and time again on Thursday and the Habs scored twice on eight power-play opportunities.
Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers suffered a broken bone in the loss to Montreal and is expected to miss the rest of the season. Myers, who won the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie in 2009-10, disappointed with three goals and five assists in 39 games this season.
Buffalo, which is 8-8-3 as the host this season, will complete its homestand Sunday against Tampa Bay.
The Flyers also have been outscored by a wide margin (11-3) during their three-game slump and they were handed a 3-1 setback by visiting Ottawa on Thursday. Colin Greening scored the game-winner late in the third period to help the Senators snap a five-game skid of its own.
Claude Giroux scored the lone Philadelphia goal and Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 31 shots for the Flyers.
"All losses are tough," Philadelphia coach Peter Laviolette said. "We are in the business of winning hockey games. Not getting that done is frustrating."
Philadelphia is playing two straight on the road and has a dismal 5-14-1 record away from the City of Brotherly Love this season. The Flyers also will visit Montreal on Monday.
The Flyers could get forward Danny Briere back from a concussion on Saturday after he sat out the last 10 games. Briere, who has a disappointing five goals and eight assists in 26 games this season, is questionable for today.
Philadelphia and the Sabres have split two meetings this season, with each team winning a game at home, and Saturday's tilt marks the end of the 2012-13 series. The Flyers have won five of the last six against the Sabres overall and the clubs have split the past six encounters in Western New York.