Philadelphia (30-26-8) at Buffalo (27-27-12)
When: Tuesday, March 7th 2017
Where: KeyBank Center, Buffalo, NY
Time: 7:35 ET | TV: NBC Sports Network
Two teams on the outside looking in at a postseason berth square off in Western New York on Tuesday night as the Buffalo Sabres entertain the Philadelphia Flyers. The Sabres start the night five points out of a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference and are going in the wrong direction. Buffalo, which blew a three-goal lead in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Flyers on October 25th, did so again on Sunday as it fell for the sixth time in seven games (1-4-2) with a 4-3 loss to Pittsburgh. The reeling Sabres also have blown third-period leads in three of their last five games. Forward Jack Eichel scored against the Penguins to extend the second-year pro’s career-high point streak to 10 games (three goals, 10 assists). Ryan O’Reilly has scored a goal in three straight games to highlight his current four-game point streak (three goals, three assists) and has three assists in two meetings with Philadelphia this season. O’Reilly’s team-leading 44 points are one better than All-Star Kyle Okposo, who has been ruled out for Tuesday’s contest and is considered week-to-week with a rib injury. Forward Sam Reinhart has a goal and two assists in his last three games overall and has the same total in two games versus the Flyers this season. The Sabres will have a tough home-and-home set with the Columbus Blue Jackets later this week.
The Flyers have regrouped a bit after falling out of the eighth spot in February during a 2-6-1 stretch, but have collected five of a possible six points in its last three games to move within three points of the eighth-place New York Islanders. Steve Mason has stepped up since being benched in favor of Michal Neuvirth for the majority of February, turning aside 94 of 97 shots, including a 22-save effort in a 2-1 overtime loss to Washington on Saturday. Mason also stopped all eight shots he faced in relief of Neuvirth in an October win over the Sabres, but allowed three goals in a 4-1 setback in Buffalo on January 10th. Brayden Schenn has two goals and an assist against the Sabres this season, but saw his six-game point streak come to an end versus the Capitals on Saturday. Philadelphia is 0-for-10 on the power play in its last two games overall, but has had great success against Buffalo this season by converting on four of its six opportunities with the man advantage. The Flyers will conclude their four-game road trip with visits to Toronto and Boston later this week.
The Flyers are playing much better lately and the Sabres are reeling, losing six of their last seven overall. Blowing big leads in the third period really destroys a team’s confidence. The Flyers have won 14 of the last 20 in this series.
Pick: Flyers +100
HEAD TO HEAD
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