Flyers seek to bounce back versus Sabres

( - The Philadelphia Flyers hope to bounce back from their first regulation loss in nearly a month when they host the lowly Buffalo Sabres in Thursday's clash at Wells Fargo Center.

The Flyers entered Tuesday's game against Columbus with a nine-game point streak (6-0-3) before losing a 5-2 decision to the Blue Jackets. It was a missed opportunity for Philadelphia as it failed to gain ground on either the Boston Bruins or Florida Panthers, two teams ahead of it in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

The Bruins are currently seven points ahead of the Flyers for the last wild card spot in the East, while Florida is three behind Boston.

Columbus jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first, but Philadelphia was able to tie the score with a pair of goals in the final three minutes of the second period. The score remained 2-2 until a costly turnover by Flyers forward Vincent Lecavalier led to Matt Calvert potting the game-winning goal midway through the third period.

Wayne Simmonds and Michael Del Zotto scored for the Flyers, while Ray Emery yielded four goals on 24 shots in defeat.

"I thought we played a great third. Sometimes you make a couple of mistakes early in the game and it comes back to bite you in the butt, and that's what happened," Simmonds said.

The loss came in the opener of a four-game homestand and dropped Philly to 15-8-4 as the host this season.

Emery will get his fifth straight start tonight in place of injured No. 1 Steve Mason, who is sidelined with a knee injury.

Before tonight's tilt the Flyers will honor former defenseman Eric Desjardins, who will become the latest inductee into the club's Hall of Fame. Earlier this season, Philadelphia inducted forwards John LeClair and Eric Lindros into the Hall.

The Sabres, who are last in the NHL standings, have lost four straight but were able to gain a point in Tuesday's shootout loss against New Jersey. Buffalo lost the road tilt 2-1 after Michal Neuvirth allowed both Scott Gomez and Jacob Josefson to score in the tiebreaker.

Neuvirth was solid in regulation and overtime, stopping 34-of-35 shots before the final phase. The Sabres netminder turned four shots in overtime, and also denied Adam Henrique on a penalty chance with 3:27 left in the third period to keep the game tied.

"If we're going to play like that, we're going to win sometime soon," said Neuvirth.

Buffalo was dealt a 15th loss in its last 16 on the road and fell to 5-20-2 as the guest this season.

The Sabres' lone goal came off the stick of Tyler Ennis, who tallied 27 seconds into the third period to make it a 1-1 game.

Buffalo has lost four straight, five of six and nine of its last 11 meetings with the Flyers. Philadelphia has claimed five in a row at Wells Fargo Center.