Flyers, Sabres resume rivalry in Buffalo

The Flyers and Sabres went the distance against each other 12 tonight, as Philadelphia visits Buffalo's First Niagara Center.

The Flyers received all they could handle from the seventh-seeded Sabres in the opening round of the postseason, needing seven games to eliminate a Buffalo team that was led by a terrific series from goaltender Ryan Miller.

Philadelphia posted a 5-2 win in the decisive Game 7 on home ice, but the Flyers would get swept by Boston in the next round.

The Flyers and Sabres split four meetings during last year's regular season and Buffalo has taken five of seven overall in the series. Philadelphia has won five of its last seven non-playoff games in Buffalo.

One player that has switched sides since last year's postseason clash is Ville Leino, who scored the overtime game-winner for Philadelphia in Game 6 last spring before signing a six-year, $27 million deal with Buffalo in the offseason.

Leino had 19 goals and 53 points in 81 regular-season games for the Flyers last year, but the 28-year-old Finn has notched just one goal and one assist in his first 10 games as a Sabre.

The Sabres opened the year with a 5-1-0 record, but have dropped three out of four since then. Buffalo last played on Saturday and was handed a 3-2 regulation loss by the visiting Florida Panthers. Jason Garrison's goal with less than two minutes to go in regulation gave the Panthers the win.

Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville lit the lamp for Buffalo, while Miller stopped 33 shots in a losing effort.

"I think from start to finish we didn't play the game we wanted to," Vanek said about the loss.

Vanek has two goals and three assists over his last three games, while Pominville has notched three goals and two helpers over the same span.

Miller stopped 222-of-242 shots sent his way during last year's playoff series against Philly and he could get the start tonight. The American netminder is 12-8-1 with a 2.88 goals-against average in 22 career games in the regular season against the Flyers.

The Flyers, meanwhile, are coming off Saturday's 5-1 victory over the visiting Carolina Hurricanes and will try for back-to-back wins tonight. Philadelphia hasn't posted consecutive victories since opening the season on a three-game winning streak.

Claude Giroux scored one of Philadelphia's four third-period goals and registered three assists, helping the Flyers beat the Hurricanes at the Wells Fargo Center.

Giroux set up tallies by linemates Jaromir Jagr -- who finished with a pair -- and Scott Hartnell. The 39-year-old Jagr, who is back in the NHL this year after three seasons in Russia's KHL, has recorded a point in four straight games and has five goals and two assists over that span.

"I'm more relaxed and probably more comfortable with my teammates and the organization and everything here," Jagr recently told the Flyers' web site. "Don't forget it's a totally new organization and totally new League for me."

Hartnell added two assists on Saturday, while Maxime Talbot also record a short-handed goal.

Ilya Bryzgalov made 24 saves to earn his first win since October 12. He had yielded 21 goals during a personal five-game skid.

"It seems like we played really well tonight. I hope we are going in the right direction and continue to improve," Bryzgalov said.

The Flyers played without forward Danny Briere on Saturday and he is questionable for tonight with an upper body injury. Briere, a former Sabres captain, has four goals and six assists this season.

Rookie Matt Read and fellow forward Zac Rinaldo are also questionable for the Flyers with upper body issues. Defenseman Chris Pronger is still out with an eye injury and will miss his fourth straight game tonight.

On Tuesday, Philadelphia placed Pronger on injured reserve and recalled forwards Harry Zolnierczyk and Ben Holmstrom from its AHL affiliate.

The Flyers are 3-1-0 on the road this season. Buffalo is 2-3-0 as the host and is playing the fourth test of a five-game homestand tonight.