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Flyers-Sabres: Game 3 Preview

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

It wasn't the prettiest game on Friday night, but the Flyers have opened the season with two straight wins, a successful start to the season based on the results. Friday's game did come at a cost, as Sean Couturier will be out for at least two weeks with a rib injury. That gives Morgan Frost an early chance to show just how deep the Flyers really are at forward.

On the other side of the ice, a new opponent awaits for the Flyers. The Buffalo Sabres are 0-2 on the season, but played two competitive and entertaining games against the Washington Capitals last week. They have showed early signs that they can be a team on the rise and they will be looking for their first win of the young season.

The Flyers and Sabres face off from Wells Fargo Center on Monday night at 7:30 p.m.

Team Leaders

Philadelphia Flyers GP G A P Buffalo Sabres GP G A P
Travis Konecny 2 3 2 5 Taylor Hall 2 1 2 3
Joel Farabee 2 1 3 4 Jack Eichel 2 0 3 3
Kevin Hayes 2 1 2 3 Victor Olofsson 2 1 1 2
James van Riemsdyk 2 1 2 3 Jake McCabe 2 1 1 2
Claude Giroux 2 0 3 3 Tobias Rieder 2 1 0 1
 
Players To Watch 1-18 copy
 
Kevin Hayes has started off the season strong with points in each of the first two games. He'll take on a greater role now with Sean Couturier out of the lineup. Hayes has been a fixture to the penalty kill and he'll need to be at his best defensively first and foremost. Keep an eye on his in this one.
 
The Sabres made waves in the offseason by adding Taylor Hall through free agency. Hall has made an immediate impact with three points in his first two games, including getting the first goal of the season for the Sabres. The Flyers should be plenty familiar with Hall from his time with the Devils, but he joins a roster and a line that features another top player that can certainly do a lot of damage.
 
Goalie Matchup 1-18

No surprise here, the Flyers are turning right back to Carter Hart for the third time this season. Hart continued to be sharp in Friday's game, delivering another 31-save performance in the 5-2 win over the Penguins. Hart's third season in the NHL is off to a solid start, and he may be the key to the Flyers maintaining a spot in the playoff picture and near the top of the East Division through the season.

The Sabres did not officially announce a goalie for Monday's game, but Linus Ullmark was first off the ice at the morning skate, indicating he should get the start. Ullmark had a solid debut against the Capitals, allowing two goals on 21 shots in a 2-1 loss to Washington. 

Projected Lineups

Flyers Line Combos 1-18
 
Flyers Scratches: Sean Couturier (rib injury), Shayne Gostisbehere (COVID-19 Unavailable List), Mark Friedman (healthy), Connor Bunnaman (healthy)

Opponent Line Combos 1-18

Sabres Scratches: Kyle Okposo (injury), Matt Irwin (healthy)

Lineup Notes

  • Flyers: With Sean Couturier out of the lineup, Morgan Frost jumps in to play in his place. Alain Vigneault said he wanted to keep the other forward lines the same, so Frost is a direct replacement for Couturier for now. Expect a healthy balance of ice time for each of the top three lines. The rest of the lineup will remain the same with Connor Bunnaman coming up from the taxi squad to be an additional healthy forward available.
  • Sabres: The Sabres are expected to move rookie Dylan Cozens up in the lineup to the second line alongside Victor Olofsson and Eric Staal. The big question in the lineup on Monday night is Sam Reinhart. Reinhart left the last game with an injury, but did take the morning skate. The Sabres have listed him as a game-time decision.

Game Notes

  • Power Play: Flyers (7th), Sabres (17th)
  • Penalty Kill: Flyers (T-16th), Sabres (T-28th)
  • Recent History vs. Sabres
    • Dec. 19,  2019 - Flyers 6, Sabres 1 (at PHI)
    • March 7, 2020 - Flyers 3, Sabres 1 (at PHI)
  • Flyers Leaders vs. Sabres
    • Claude Giroux - 38 GP, 10 G, 29 A, 39 P
    • Travis Konecny - 11 GP, 3 G, 6 A, 9 P
    • Jake Voracek - 31 GP, 4 G, 20 A, 24 P
    • Travis Sanheim - 7 GP, 2 G, 3 A, 5 P
    • Carter Hart - 2 GP, 2-0-0, 1.00 GAA, .964 SV%
  • Milestone Watch
    • Jake Voracek need one assist to pass Mark Recchi for fifth all-time in Flyers history.
    • Jake Voracek needs three points to reach 700 for his career in the NHL.

Where to Watch
TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia/NBCSN
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic/97.3 ESPN

Game Preview Video

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