This time last year, the Flyers were in the middle of one of the worst losing streaks in their history that almost cost them the playoffs. This year, they have managed to play more consistently. That continued this week but probably not with the results they hoped for.
Both games this week at home were back-and-forth. After an impressive weekend, Marty Biron was in goal for both games this week. Antero Nittymaki was backing him up after recovering from the flu.
The Buffalo Sabres made their first visit of the season on Thursday night. The Flyers had many chances in the first before Glen Metropolit deflected an Arron Asham shot home for the lead. Mike Richards picked up an assist on what would be a career night.
Buffalo tied the game in the second on a soft goal that squeezed through Biron. Then almost nine minutes into the second period, the Flyers had their best shift of the season by far. They pinned the Sabres in their own zone for over a minute. Buffalo failed to clear the zone five times. Finally, Simon Gagne found Braydon Coburn sliding in from the point and drilled home his sixth of the season. Richards picked up another assist.
Not four minutes later, the Sabres tied the game again on the power play. Richards then scored a shorthanded goal for the second consecutive game when he beat the Buffalo goaltender on a 2-on-1 with Kimmo Timonen.
On the power play in the last minute of the second period, Biron could not find the rebound off a Sabre shot and they tied the game for the third time at 3.
The third period was filled with shots as each team had 14. On the power play, Gagne found Mike Knuble camped out in his usual spot in front of the net as he put home his 20th of the season. The Flyers were finally able to hold the lead.
After getting an assist on the game-winner, Richards capped off a career high five point night with an empty-net goal. Darroll Powe also had an empty-net goal to finish the 6-3 win.
The Pittsburgh Penguins made their last visit of the season to Philly with a new head coach. The Flyers looked to help the Penguins stay out of the playoffs. It started off that way.
After a couple minutes of play, the Flyers dominated the first period in all aspects but only managed to score one goal. Joffrey Lupul scored on a back-hander that the Pens defense could not find the puck. Lupul had one goal in his previous 12 games.
The Penguins then controlled the second period, top to bottom, and beat Biron three times just like the last time they were in Philly.
The Flyers were able to tie the game with goals from Mike Richards and Braydon Coburn about seven minutes into the period. The game was quickly untied when former Flyer, Ruslan Fedetenko scored his second goal of the game.
Again the Flyers were able to tie it when Mike Knuble deflected home a pass from Richards.
Then late in the game, Marty Biron came way out of his net to take away a scoring chance. He had to drop the puck in order to not be penalized and unfortunately a Penguin was right behind him. He pushed the puck towards the net and Sidney Crosby poked it into the gaping net for his second of the game.
The Flyers will look for another win in the last meeting of the season later on after this disappointing 5-4 loss.
The Flyers will play Tuesday in Washington and Wednesday at home with the LA Kings. The Montreal Canadiens will be here Friday night before a visit to the Devils on Sunday afternoon.
Danny Briere is hopeful to return this week possibly Wednesday night.
You can contact Colin Fry at firstname.lastname@example.org.