Sabres ride six-game win streak; Flyers may change goalies
While indications on Tuesday were that Alex Lyon, who played in 11 NHL games last season, would make his season debut for the Flyers in the game at KeyBank Center, the Sabres will be trying to extend their winning streak to seven games.
It was the third comeback win on a three-game road trip for the Sabres (13-6-2), who are on a six-game winning streak for the first time since Dec. 27, 2009-Jan. 8, 2010.
“There’s a bit of confidence now because we’ve done it a few times,” Eichel said after the game. “I think it’s a trust and a belief in each other. You look at the room, I think the guys are believing the next guy’s going to get the job done and set you up for your shifts.
“We’re a pretty tight bunch right now for how many new guys have come into this team. I think we’re getting really close right now and we’re doing it for each other, and I think that’s the biggest thing. Everyone out there doesn’t want to let the guy next to them down.”
The Sabres also defeated the Winnipeg Jets and the Minnesota Wild on the trip.
“I thought that was a heck of a road trip against three really good hockey teams,” Eichel said.
The Flyers (9-9-2) have not played since losing 6-5 in overtime at home Saturday to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Flyers, who scored four goals in the third period to force overtime Saturday, finished the homestand at 2-2-1.
With injuries to goaltenders Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth, Cal Pickard was in goal Saturday for the Flyers. In eight appearances, Pickard has a 4.60 goals-against average and an .852 save percentage.
Lyon, 25, who was recalled last week from the Philadelphia Phantoms of the AHL, left the ice first at practice Tuesday, an indication that he will start in Buffalo, although Flyers coach Dave Hakstol did not reveal his choice.
“We’ve probably generated more offense over the past three games than we had in the previous five games,” Hakstol said. “The opportunities are coming. We weren’t able to finish. We’ve talked about different things we can do a little better — simplifying thing, making sure we’re getting to the net. To have the floodgates open in the third period the other night was needed and was a good thing for us. I hope we’ll be able to keep generating opportunities, and obviously the most important thing is to continue to finish.”
The Flyers have a 104-83 advantage in shots on goal over the past three games but have been outscored 11-6.
“I’ve prepared the right way,” Lyon said. “I’m just sticking to the same game plan. I just tried to go out and have a really good practice (Tuesday), and whenever the situation may call, I’ll be ready for it.”
The Flyers will need to be at their best against the surging Sabres.
“They’re a good team,” Flyers center Sean Couturier said. “They’re streaking right now. They’ve got a lot of talent, a lot of skill. It’s going to be a tough game, a big challenge. We’ll be ready.”
If goaltending is a question for the Flyers, the Sabres have had good work from their goalie, Carter Hutton, who stopped 36 of 40 shots on Monday, including an important save when the Penguins had a two-on-none chance during a Sabres power play in the first period.
Hutton also made a big save on Phil Kessel during a 29-second spell in the second period when Pittsburgh had a five-on-three power play.
“I think the key moment of the game, obviously, was the five-on-three,” Sabres coach Phil Housley said.
The Sabres have won five games when trailing after two periods, a league best.
“It’s just unbelievable, the resiliency,” Housley said. “This road trip, it’s tough. It says a lot about this group in there, the character and the fight they showed (Monday).”