Philadelphia, PA – Simon Gagne and Maxime Talbot scored early goals that helped propel the Philadelphia Flyers to a much-needed 3-2 decision over the Buffalo Sabres at Wells Fargo Center.
Claude Giroux added the eventual game-winner 17 seconds into the second period, while Kimmo Timonen recorded two assists in Philadelphia's first victory after three consecutive defeats.
Ilya Bryzgalov aided the cause as well, contributing an assist on Gagne's goal in addition to making 18 saves between the pipes.
"That's a step forward," said Giroux of the win. "We needed those two points tonight and we obviously have a big test in front of us [Wednesday at New Jersey], so we need to make sure we're pretty sharp going forward."
Brian Flynn and Jochen Hecht each lit the lamp for the skidding Sabres, now losers of four in a row (0-2-2). Ryan Miller finished with 25 saves in defeat.
The Flyers never trailed after Timonen hit Gagne with a long pass and the veteran forward converted a power-play breakaway 4:31 after the opening whistle, in part due to a defensive breakdown by Buffalo on its initial opportunity with a man advantage.
Steve Ott lost the puck to Philadelphia's Ruslan Fedotenko, who raced up the right side on a 2-on-1 situation with Talbot before feeding his teammate for a shorthanded tally that put the Flyers up 2-0 less than nine minutes in.
"We obviously started off on the wrong foot," said Sabres head coach Ron Rolston. "That's more my responsibility, I've got to do a better job there. We've got to be ready to go, we didn't have enough urgency or desperation off the start."
The Sabres were able to cut the lead in half just under three minutes later, with Flynn banging home a rebound of Kevin Porter's long drive for the rookie's second career NHL marker, but an interference penalty called on Ott near the end of the period eventually put Buffalo back in a two-goal hole.
Philadelphia quickly capitalized on the infraction, with Giroux beating Miller to the stick side not long after the second period commenced.
Buffalo got back within one with a shorthanded conversion of its own 4:32 into the third frame, with Ott knocking the puck from Giroux and creating an odd- man rush with Hecht that the latter scored on.
The Sabres put up five shots over the remainder of the contest, but Bryzgalov was able to preserve the lead.
The Flyers improved to 9-4-0 this season when scoring the first goal ... Talbot's shorthanded goal was the 15th of his career, while Hecht netted his 10th tally in such situations ... Giroux has a goal in all three meetings between the clubs this season, with Timonen amassing five assists over the course of those games ... Philadelphia finished 2-of-6 on the power play.