INSIDE HOCKEY » Buffalo Sabres Get Inside! Sat, 20 Sep 2014 02:40:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Rangers Gazing Towards Playoffs Fri, 11 Apr 2014 02:57:16 +0000

NEW YORK – Thursday night’s match wasn’t about today for the New York Rangers. It was about tomorrow.

It wasn’t pretty. But tomorrow, no one will care about pretty. Thursday’s game wasn’t about pretty or ugly. Short or tall. It was about moving forward. It was about moving towards tomorrow.

The Rangers had already clinched a playoff spot on Monday, so the only work left for them to accomplish was making sure they were clear of a Wild Card spot, which would have meant a tough first-round meeting with either the Bruins or Penguins.

“If you’ve played in the league long enough, you’ve been in 100 different situations; clinching early, clinching last, not in the playoffs, you have to be professional and you come to work every day,” said forward Brad Richards. “We were a little loose and slow early in the game, but we grabbed it and talked about it, and figured it out.”

Mission accomplished. Thursday night’s 2-1 win over the Sabres, coupled with the Flyers’ 4-2 loss in Tampa Bay ensured the Rangers (45-31-5) the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Metro Division playoffs, which means Games 1 and 2 at home, and, if necessary, Game 7 at the Garden in the first round.

The playoffs begin Wednesday, though Game 1 for the Rangers is likely to be Thursday, Apr. 17 due to a Knicks game the previous night.

“You want to finish as high in the standings as possible,” said Marc Staal, who won the Good Guy Award from the media earlier this week for cooperation with the press. “We knew if we lost this one, potentially we could have slipped into the wild card spot if we didn’t win our next one. It was a big two points for us against a team with not a lot to play for.”

“It’s different, mentality-wise,” said Benoit Pouliot, who scored the first Rangers goal late in the second period. “You don’t want to take a break or anything, but sometimes the other team wants to ruin your whole thing you got going on. Buffalo came out hard, they played well. For us, we just have to be a little bit more prepared mentally off the bat. After that, we took over the game and we were fine.”

It wasn’t easy for the Rangers. With the immediacy of their situation resolved earlier this week, the mentality is different now. Tonight’s game wasn’t a must-win, it was a want-to-win.

“In a game like tonight, I’m not going to dig too deep in my brain to try to figure it out,” said cerebral Rangers coach Alain Vigneault of his team’s uneven performance. “I’m going to take the two points and go home.”

It’s not about right now. It’s not about the two points they gained. It’s about who they’re going to face when the playoffs begin in six days. It’s about putting themselves in a better position to succeed when the lights shine brightest.

“[It’s] definitely not the same as a must-win game, but they’re must-win points,” said Richards. “Would have been pretty sad in here tonight if we didn’t get those two points. You gotta figure it out.”


The Rangers won their 45th game of the season, the seventh time in franchise history they’ve hit the mark, and the second time in the last three seasons.

The Rangers allowed two goals or fewer for the 48th time this season, and one goal or less for the 30th time. They’re 38-10-0 when allowing two or fewer, and 28-2-0 when allowing no more than one goal.

Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (23 saves) is 11-4-1 in his last 16 games with a 1.81 GAA, .939 sv%, and two shutouts.


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Isles Hard Work Pays Off In 4-1Win Over Sabres Sun, 16 Mar 2014 03:53:30 +0000


The New York Islanders finally saw their hard work pay off Saturday night as they defeated the visiting Buffalo Sabres at the Nassau Coliseum 4-1.

Lubomir Visnovsky had three assists for the Islanders while goalie Anders Nilsson made 33 saves to earn his third win of the season. Frans Nielsen, Kyle Okposo, Ryan Strome and Cal Clutterbuck scored the Islanders goals.

The Islanders were outshot in the first period 14-10 but led 2-0 after Nielsen scored his 22nd goal of the year at 3:31 and Okposo added his 27th of the season on the power play at 17:24.

Rookie Anders Lee earned an assist on Nielsen’s goal, giving him 10 points in nine game this season. Lee has now registered at least one point in three straight games and in five of his last six contests.

The game was chippy throughout and included a bout between two heavyweights when Matt Carkner and John Scott dropped the gloves at 9:15 of the first period. Scott got some good punches in early but Carkner rallied later in the fight.

The Isles maintained their 2-0 lead into the third period but Tyler Ennis scored on a wraparound just 56 seconds into the final period to pull the Sabres to within a goal. It also made the Isles’ faithful fearful of another third period collapse by their team.

But the Islanders erased any thoughts of a Buffalo comeback when they scored the prettiest goal of the night just 39 seconds after Ennis’ goal. Matt Martin made a beautiful pass that found Strome all alone cutting to the slot and Strome scored to make it 3-1 Islanders.

“It was kind of a broken play,” Martin admitted. “I heard Strome over there and he was all alone so I just tried to get it to him.”

“To get that two-goal lead back was pretty big and it was a nice play by Marty [Martin] there,” Strome said.

Clutterbuck added the icing on the cake when he scored into an empty net with 2:13 left in the third period and the Islanders had ended their three-game losing streak at home.

The Isles played solid defense throughout the game and their goalie was quick to credit his teammates for their efforts. “The whole team in front of me played an unbelievable game,” Nilsson said. “They cleared the guys who were in front of me so I had a clear view of every shot and they took away the back door plays.”

The win felt good for an Islanders team who finally saw their hard work pay dividends. “We dropped a game last night and you never want to lose games back-to-back,” Martin explained. “We’re playing hard and we’re playing pretty good hockey and we just have to keep it up.”

The Islanders return to action Tuesday night when they host the Minnesota Wild at 7:00 PM. It is the third game of a four-game home stand for the Isles.


Attendance was 14,388.

Former Isles’ coach Ted Nolan was behind the bench for Buffalo. Nolan also recently led Latvia to a strong showing at the Olympics in Sochi.

Prior to the game, the Isles signed defenseman Adam Pelech to an entry-level contract. Pelech was the team’s third-round draft pick in the 2012 NHL Draft.

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Photo Gallery: Americans @ Penguins (2/01/14) Sun, 02 Feb 2014 14:43:54 +0000

At the Mohegan Sun Arena on Saturday 02/01/14, Rochester American’s  Luke Adam had 1 goal and 1 assist and goalie  Nathan Lieuwen stopped 26 shots on goal to help their team defeat the WBS Penguins by a score of 4-0. The “3 Stars of the Game” #3 RCH – Frederick Roy, #2 RCH Luke Adam, #1 RCH Nathan Lieuwen. Photos taken by Steve Rusyn for Inside Hockey.

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Caps prevail in OT against last place Sabres Wed, 29 Jan 2014 05:56:50 +0000

The Washington Capitals looked to build on their momentum Tuesday night as they took on the Buffalo Sabres for the last meeting of the season between the two teams. Washington just ended their longest losing streak of the season at seven in the previous game with a 5-0 win against the Montreal Canadians and earned another two points after prevailing in overtime.

“It was a big win for us. We fought until the end. It was obviously good that we could pull off the win,” Washington forward Nicklas Backstrom said after the game.

Alex Ovechkin earned three points with two goals and an assist on the game winner in the extra frame. Mike Green had an equally impressive night, scoring in overtime while adding another goal and an assist in regulation.

Braden Holtby got the nod from Coach Adam Oates after his shutout against Montreal in the previous outing.

Washington jumped out to an early lead, scoring two goals from Ovechkin. The first was a powerful slap shot right off the draw. During their first power play of the game, Troy Brouwer won the faceoff back for power forward to put in the back of the net.

Ovechkin’s second goal was a deflection on a Green shot from the point through traffic that ricocheted off Ovechkin’s pants to go top shelf on Buffalo goalie, Jhonas Enroth.

“I feel sorry for Greenie,” Ovechkin commented after the game on his leg deflection getting credit for Green’s offensive effort.

Unfortunately, Buffalo would answer with two of their own. Before the periods’ end, Christian Ehrhoff put a wrist shot behind Holtby on a third rebound with bad defensive coverage from the Caps in the offensive zone. Less than two minutes into the second, Washington saw their lead evaporate when Cody Hodgson put a power play goal bar down on Holtby.

Mike Weber was called for interference against Marcus Johansson when the Washington forward was on the receiving end of a nasty elbow to the face. The Caps failed to convert on the man-advantage but scored less than five minutes later when Green showed off his offensive patience on a terrific solo effort. He faked a shot to freeze Enroth then took advantage by wrapping the puck around to put the Caps back in the lead.

The lead would hold for almost a minute, when Philip Varone scored the first NHL goal of his career to knot the game at three a piece. The Buffalo offensive has had no trouble producing goals, scoring three or more in their last seven of eight outings.

Buffalo gave up a power play to Washington as a result of Henrik Tallinder’s hook on Brouwer, who scored on the ensuing opportunity on a three way passing play with Ovechkin and Martin Erat.

Hodgson would tie the game up again for the Sabres in the only goal of the third period on an unassisted backhander past Holtby.

The third period momentum did not carry over for the home team, who eventually fell one minute into overtime when Ovechkin drew the attention of the defensive and fed the puck to an open Green, who put a wrist shot in the back of the net to get the Caps their first set of consecutive wins since early January.

Backstrom stressed the importance of two more points in his postgame interview.

“I think it is real important for us to put ourselves in a good position before [the] Olympic break. As you said, it is tight in our division…Every point is so important right now, so you’ve got to take advantage of every one,” he said. The win means more than just two more points in the tight Metropolitan. It also means that the momentum and perseverance that it took to end their seven game skid would not be in vain, as the Caps capitalized on their blow out against Montreal to turn out another win.

While they gave up a lead three times, they ultimately held on for the win and stole two points from the worst team in the NHL.

“It is kind of frustrating when you get a lead and then you relax and they get one goal and tie the game,” Ovechkin said postgame.

Coach Adam Oates would not let his team off the hook completely despite the victorious outcome.

“The good news is we won the game. We did a lot of good things, obviously a couple mistakes, a couple breakdowns…I thought we did a lot of good things in the game,” he said, giving his team credit where credit was due.

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Sens Can’t Hack It, Fall to Amerks Sun, 26 Jan 2014 05:31:03 +0000

BINGHAMTON – The Rochester Americans came to the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena Saturday night with one goal: Spoil the Binghamton Senators in front of their largest crowd of the season. They succeeded, as they steamrolled the Sens 5-2 in front of 4505 fans, many there to celebrate the induction of Danis Hamel into the Binghamton Hockey Hall of Fame.

Rochester (19-15-3-3 44 points, 2nd North) made their presence known early, as for the second time in two days, Senators goalie Andrew Hammond allowed a goal in the first two minutes. Brayden Irwin scored his first goal of the year at the 1:45 mark this time on a rebound off his own initial shot. The second chance went high over the already outstretched pad of Hammond, who had no chance. Johan Larsson and Luke Adam assisted on the early goal.

“We’ve been talking about getting better starts,” Coach Luke Richardson said. “Tonight we just didn’t react.

“…We just weren’t prepared to play as hard as they did today,” he continued

Binghamton did not go down easily, as 4:49 into the period, Jean-Gabriel Pageau knotted the game up at 1 on a powerplay goal. Chris Wideman had the shot from the center point, and Pageau was in the slot to put home a long rebound past Matt Hackett to get the game back to square one. Mike Hoffman was credited with the second assist on Pageau’s seventh of the year.

The Senators looked lost during the course of the game, coughing up the puck in their own zone, giving the Amerks multiple opportunities to take the lead. On the defensive end, Rochester kept the pressure on, closing the passing lanes and giving Binghamton fits in the offensive end.

Rochester took command of the game 8:28 into the opening frame when Kevin Porter scored his eighth of the year. A shot was blocked by Derek Grant, but the puck ricocheted right to Porter in the slot, who let go an easy shot past Hammond to put Rochester up 2-1.

With Mark Borowiecki in the box for high sticking, the Amerks doubled up their lead as Jamie Tardif scored his 12th of the year at 12:14. It was another block that led to the goal as Wideman blocked Brayden McNabb’s shot right to Tardiff who scored to make it 3-1. Binghamton came within one just a minute later as Shane Prince scored his 10th of the year to make it 3-2. He let go a hard wrister from the slot that frustrated Hackett. Andre Petersson helped get the puck loose to the slot and was credited with an assist.

Binghamton escaped a lackluster first period down one, but Pageau had a chance to tie it with mere seconds remaining, but the puck hit the inside post and rebounded out to keep the game at 3-2.

“We weren’t on mentally,” Richardson said. “And that effects physically.”

That was the end of the scoring for Binghamton, and Rochester added quick insurance as Larsson scored his fifth of the year 1:26 into the second stanza. Hammond made two saves, but Larsson poked it in on the third chance to make double up the lead at 4-2. Irwin and Adam assisted.

Binghamton just could not get anything going, and only mustered eight shots in the period. Meanwhile, Rochester made their 11th of the frame count, as they scored the dagger at 19:52. After David Dziurzynski took a penalty for closing his hand on the puck, Adam scored his 18th goal of the year with McNabb and Porter helping.

Binghamton played a noticeably better period in the third, outshooting the Amerks 13-7, but their momentum came too late, as Matt Puempel and Kevin Sunder dropped the gloves at the 7:49 mark, but it was too little too late, as Hackett was dialed in in the third and sent the Sens fans home angry in the a 5-2 decision favoring the Americans.

Binghamton will face a rematch of Friday night’s victory in Albany on Sunday afternoon while Rochester returns to action Wednesday night at home against the Chicago Wolves.

“We have to make sure we rebound,” Richardson said. “Even though we’re tired, we’ll be playing three games in less than three days.”


  • Derek Grant left the game near the end of the 1st with a muscle pull. He is expected to return to the lineup tomorrow.
  • Scott Greenham will get his first AHL action of the season on Sunday as he is scheduled to start against Albany. Nathan Lawson is still day-to-day.
  • Denis Hamel was inducted into the Binghamton Hockey Hall of Fame. The former Captain is the leading goal scorer in team history and was a fan favorite in Binghamton for parts of 6 seasons. He also played for the Americans at the start of his professional career. The Lachute, Quebec native also played 192 NHL gamesscoring 19-12-31. He is the only Binghamton Senator to score 50+ goals, scoring 56 in 77 games in 2005-06


1. Luke Adam (ROC) G, A

2. Kevin Porter (ROC) G, A

3. Johan Larsson (ROC) G, A

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Miller, Sabres Sneak by Caps in Shootout Mon, 13 Jan 2014 02:12:33 +0000

On the surface, the Capitals 2-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres, which came in their 13th shootout of the season, was largely forgettable. A mentally and physically fatigued Washington team failed to dictate the play against a weaker opponent, instead following Buffalo’s dull, passive lead.

Aside from a frantic final two minutes of regulation, when it twice appeared that the Capitals would get the go-ahead goal, the game was rather sleepy and unremarkable.

Upon further inspection, though, the loss encapsulated some of the recurring flaws that have plagued the Capitals this season. Problems they have yet to overcome – at least on a consistent basis – so far this year.


While Capitals fans in attendance were irate over the tripping call on Nicklas Backstrom that negated Karl Alzner’s goal with 53 seconds left in regulation, Nicky’s stick was wrapped around Cody Hogdson’s foot, even if it did seem like the Buffalo forward was already falling. Penalties have sunk the Caps in multiple losses this year.

“I can’t really question the call,” Capitals head coach Adam Oates said after the game. “It’s a penalty. You got to kill it.”

While the Capitals managed to kill Backstrom’s and three other penalties in the game, nearly nine minutes on the penalty kill means their best players can’t get on the ice to create offense or momentum.

“I think we had a couple penalties in the second,” Alex Ovechkin said. “A couple of bad ones, but we killed them. Sometimes when we have those kinds of penalties you don’t win the game. PK guys in the game and guys who don’t (play on the penalty kill) not in the game. I think 5-on-5 both teams didn’t have any chances because everybody played solid today.”

Veteran Miscues:

In nearly every post-game press conference after a loss, Oates expresses disappointment with mistakes made by his experienced players. His sentiments after the Buffalo loss were no different.

“I hate those mistakes,” he said, specifically referring to mistakes made on the power play. “From guys that you count on. Most power play guys are veterans, they’ve been there before…have been mentally tired before. You still expect execution.”

Execution woes:

Referring to execution problems after a loss is standard cliche for hockey coaches and players around the league. In the end, if a team isn’t executing, they’re likely being sloppy and, as Oates often says, not ‘playing correct.’

“Part of it is fatigue, mental fatigue, stress,” Oates said. “I think mentally you got a little tired, physically as well. You know, our execution, we iced the puck five feet from center four times tonight. I mean, that turns into a disaster for us. Guys are yelling at each other and it just wears you down.”

Too few regulation wins:

Playing past regulation isn’t a big deal when the Capitals are giving away points to a team like the Buffalo Sabres, but doing so against the Rangers, Flyers or Hurricanes is going to add up by March and April.

“You want the points,” Oates said. “You want (them) every night and we talk about it from day one that really in the season there are noisy games. You want to get points every single time you can because it will bite you later in the year.”

The Caps will look to get back on track at home Tuesday night against the San Jose Sharks.

Scoring Summary:

Buffalo defenseman Brian Flynn tipped Jason Chimera’s pass intended for Marcus Johansson past his own goalie to give the Capitals a 1-0 lead 11:01 into the first period. Rookie defenseman Connor Carrick started the play with a great breakout pass to Joel Ward.

With Tom Wilson in the box for a questionable charging penalty and John Carlson tangled up with Cody Hodgson in the front of the Capitals net, Tyler Ennis was able to take advantage of the traffic in the crease, corralling the loose rebound from Christian Ehrhoff’s initial shot and lifting it over Grubauer’s blocker to tie the game at one with his ninth goal of the season.

While Ryan Miller didn’t repeat the 49-save performance that sunk the Capitals on December 29, his stick save on Mikhail Grabovski with two minutes left in regulation cost the Capitals a third consecutive regulation win.

Hodgson, the final skater in the shootout, scored the only goal to give the Sabres their second shootout win in as many games against the Capitals.

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Bottom Lines Improve, B’s top Sabres 4-1 Sun, 22 Dec 2013 04:45:07 +0000

With six regulars out of the lineup, the Boston Bruins called upon their AHL affiliate (the Providence Bruins) to provide some relief. Ryan Spooner, Matt Fraser, Nick Johnson, Kevan Miller, David Warsofsky and Craig Cunningham have all made appearances for the NHL Bruins, who do their best to maintain position atop the Eastern Conference.

Four of those skaters took the ice on Saturday night, when the Bruins faced the Buffalo Sabres in the second night of a home-and-home two-game set.

The Sabres, who had beaten the depleted Bruins to a tune of 4-2 on Thursday night, looked to garner their first three-game winning-streak of the season, what would be an undeniable accomplishment for one of the NHL’s most suffering franchises.

Spooner, Fraser and Johnson, who had totaled for three points in 19 games combined, indicated frustrations (reiterated by their coach) about wanting to contribute more rather than “just being a part.”

On Saturday, their play drastically improved.

One of the best first period chances for the Bruins came off a Spooner-won faceoff, when Warsofsky, playing in only his second ever NHL game, blasted a one-timer on net.

Later in the first, many of the “replacements” contributed on the Bruins first goal of the game, coming on the man-advantage. Warsofsky had a nice keep-in on the blueline, followed by a Spooner and Patrice Bergeron back and forth, and they eventually fed the puck down low to Carl Soderberg who found Reilly Smith crashing in for the back door play.

“Well it’s because we’re confident in those guys,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien after the game, when asked about using Spooner and Warsofsky on the power play. “Right now, when you’re missing some of those power play guys – [Loui] Eriksson’s one of those good players that can play that position well and half-wall and with Spooner being a left-hand shot, same thing, he’s very good on the half wall. To us it was a logic decision to make. And then [David] Warsofsky has played the power play in Providence and I think he’s done a good job; when I saw him play I thought he handled the power play extremely well so we thought we’d give him an opportunity here too.”

Soderberg and Smith have had tremendous chemistry together on the power play all season long, and it continued Saturday night. The backdoor play has made a killing for them and the Bruins special teams unit.

“He’s got eyes on the back of his head so he sees everything,” said Smith postgame of Soderberg. “But it seems to work in games pretty well. Doesn’t work in practice, maybe because people are used to it, but if he gets that pass through I pretty much have an open net. So, he’s done a great job so far of getting the puck through and it’s just my job to find the back of the net.

Soderberg, Spooner and Fraser had by far their best game of the season on Saturday as well, backing Buffalo up in their own end on a number of shifts, contributing both on and off the score sheet.

After a Buffalo breakdown, Iginla led his line on a three-on-two rush, patiently holding onto the puck along the boards, before centering to David Krejci who dangled once and roofed it past backup netminder Jonas Enroth; the goal gave the Bruins a 2-1 lead after two periods of moment.

In a critical moment, the Bruins penalty kill unit came up huge, killing off an extended five-on-three man-advantage for the Sabres, who didn’t even get a shot on goal till the final seconds.

Spooner, having to fill in for one of the Bruins usual penalty killers, did a tremendous job with the opportunity, continuing to block shots, force players wide, play sound positional hockey and even create a scoring chance for himself at one point.

The Sabres took it to the Bruins at the start of the third period, pounding shots on net as a result of poor puck-management in their own end by the black and gold; Marchand, in particular, with a brutal turnover in close and failed clearing attempt led to some golden chances.

But, just like most of the bottom-dwellers in the NHL standings, a lost faceoff and brutal neutral zone play allowed the Bruins top line to gain easy entry into the zone, and eventually give the Bruins a two-goal lead.

Krejci and defenseman Torey Krug worked the puck back and forth beautifully, while Lucic found his spot in front of the net, and was eventually set-up by the perfect Krejci feed for his twelfth goal of the season.

After a recent skid, the Bruins top line looked to have regained its dominant form.

Smith added an empty net goal and it was all over from the Garden.

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Ryan Miller: Heroics On and Off the Ice Fri, 13 Dec 2013 12:52:56 +0000

ryan-miller-ringmasterFor Ryan Miller, it is not enough just to be one of the NHLs premier goalies, a Vezina trophy winner, and a Sochi Olympic hopeful. As the founder of the Steadfast Foundation, Miller uses his time off the ice to aid those suffering from cancer, especially in cases of childhood leukemia.

The Steadfast Foundation, who supports the efforts of Carly’s Club for Kids and Cancer Research at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, auctions off used gear of Millers and throws yearly fundraisers to raise money going towards efforts to lighten the load for families and children fighting cancer.

On December 15, Ryan Miller and the Steadfast Foundation will host the Catwalk for Charity VII: Cirque du Sabres with a Masquerade Twist in downtown Buffalo. Since its creation in 2007, the event has raised more than $1,000,000 to go towards year-round support that gives the victims and their families’ diversionary events and psychological programs in an effort to ease the burden. In addition, for every home game Miller donates his suite at the First Niagara Center to the cause, with the proceeds going toward Carly’s Club kids.

This circus-themed event is co-chaired by Kevin and Jackie LoVullo. Kevin LoVullo hosts a weekly wine-themed radio program, Spiel of Wine, on WGRZ-TV in Buffalo while Jackie owns a handmade wreath store, Zenjoy, and displays her art at many shows and charities in the western New York area.

The masquerade fundraiser will feature live music, an open bar, and cuisine from Buffalo’s finest to go along with the live auction. All of Miller’s Buffalo Sabre teammates will be in attendance to support their netminder and the worthy cause. The 21-and-over party will have a VIP red carpet hosted by WKSE (KISS 98.5) morning show DJ Janet Snyder to introduce the local and national celebrities who will turnout to promote the deserving cause.

Individual tickets to the event and sponsorship information can be found at




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Photo Gallery: NHL Photos of the Month Wed, 04 Dec 2013 02:38:27 +0000

Here are the November 2013 NHL Photos of the Month from the photographers at Inside Hockey.

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Photo Gallery: Sabres vs Flyers (11/21/2013) Fri, 22 Nov 2013 14:32:28 +0000

The Philadelphia Flyers defeated the visiting Buffalo Sabres by a score of 4-1.

1st Matt Read (#24 PHI)
2nd Steve Downie (#9 PHI)
3rd Sean Couturier (#14 PHI)

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