Sabres Have Big First Period to Beat Flyers

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Evan Rodrigues had a goal and an assist in Buffalo’s four-goal first period, and the Sabres extended their NHL-best winning streak to seven games Wednesday night with a 5-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.

It is Buffalo’s longest run since taking 10 games in a row to open the 2006-07 season.

Jeff Skinner, Tage Thompson and Johan Larsson also scored in the opening period for the Sabres. Sam Reinhart added an empty-net goal in the third, and Carter Hutton made 23 saves.

Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds scored for the Flyers (9-10-2). Alex Lyon had 16 saves.

Buffalo (14-6-2) was all over the Flyers right from the start.

Skinner opened the floodgates 3:38 into the game on a rebound opportunity. Jason Pominville’s shot from the right circle was stopped and pushed to Skinner in the slot, who had an easy finish to make it 1-0.

Sabres center Jeff Skinner
Sabres center Jeff Skinner (Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports)

Less than two minutes later, Thompson doubled Buffalo’s lead on a tremendous one-man effort. Thompson used his size and power to skate around Flyers defenceman Radko Gudas, tucking a shot inside the far post. It was his second goal of the season, with his first coming in Monday’s win over Pittsburgh.

Rodrigues made it 3-0 at 8:55 on the power play, his first goal of the season. He pounced on a rebound to end his scoring drought.

Larsson made it 4-0 just before the end of the first, scoring with eight seconds remaining. Larsson sped past Flyers defenceman Christian Folin and buried a hard shot to the short side for his first goal of the season.

Seconds later, Larsson bested Scott Laughton in a scrap.

The Flyers showed more fight in the second period, cutting Buffalo’s lead to 4-2.

Giroux got them on the board 5:26 into the second on a one-timer from close range. Simmonds made it 4-2 with 6:09 remaining in the period. With Hutton unable to corral a rebound, Simmonds poked the puck home for his team-high ninth goal of the season.

Philadelphia had its share of chances in the third period as well, but Buffalo was able to hold on. The Flyers’ best opportunity of the period came on a 2-on-1 rush with 6:48 remaining, when Hutton foiled Travis Konecny’s attempt. They had another good chance with 4:07 left after a Sabres defenceman fell, but failed to score.

Reinhart scored into an empty net with 1:38 to go.

NOTES: The Sabres recalled defenceman Lawrence Pilut from the AHL’s Rochester Americans before the game. Pilut was scratched, along with D Marco Scandella and LW Remi Elie. The Sabres signed Pilut this off-season out of the Swedish Hockey League, where he was named the league’s top defenceman last year. … Buffalo also placed C Patrik Berglund (upper body) on injured reserve. … G Brian Elliott, D Andrew MacDonald and RW Nicolas Aube-Kubel were scratched for the Flyers.


Flyers: Home against the New York Rangers on Friday afternoon.

Sabres: Home against the Montreal Canadiens on Friday afternoon.


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Mark Ludwiczak, The Associated Press