Buffalo (40-16-5) at Philadelphia (35-18-10)

Cloudy Currently: Philadelphia, PA
Temp: 60° F
  • Game info: 2:00 pm EST Sat Mar 11, 2006
  • TV: MSG, CSP
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Buffalo Sabres try to follow a big offensive outburst and record a fifth straight victory as they visit the Wachovia Center to meet the Philadelphia Flyers.

Derek Roy never had a hat trick in 94 career NHL games before getting one last Friday in a 6-2 victory over Toronto. That win turned out to be the first of four straight for the Sabres, and Roy also starred in the latest victory with another hat trick as Buffalo beat Tampa Bay 8-5 on Thursday.

Roy, who began the season in the minors, had just seven goals in his first 44 games of the season before his recent outburst.

“It’s nice to help the team now,” Roy said. “At the beginning of the year I wasn’t scoring much. Hopefully I can keep plugging away and keep trying to score.”

J.P. Dumont added two goals in Thursday’s win and Thomas Vanek snapped a third-period tie, notching his third game-winning goal of the season. Buffalo had 14 players register at least a point.

Ryan Miller benefited from the outburst as he made 35 saves to win his third straight start.

“That was definitely wide open,” Miller said. “It was just one of those nights for me where I felt pretty good most of the time, but still let a few get by me.”

The presence of Miller and backup Martin Biron left Mika Noronen as the odd-man out this season, and the Sabres traded him to Vancouver for a second-round pick on Thursday shortly before the NHL’s trade deadline.

A five-year veteran and Buffalo’s first-round pick in the 1997 draft, Noronen appeared in only four games this season—none since Dec. 2. He started 30 games for the Sabres in the 2003-04 season.

The Flyers made a pair of deals on Thursday. They acquired veteran defenseman Denis Gauthier from Phoenix for two second-round picks and minor leaguer Josh Gratton, and got right wing Niko Dimitrakos from San Jose for a third-rounder.

The hard-checking Gauthier adds depth along Philadelphia’s injury-depleted blue line.

“We felt Gauthier is a really good fit,” Flyers general manager Bob Clarke said. “He’s a physical player. He’ll move up the middle and he’ll hit people. That was an area we felt we had to get better, especially with the injuries on defense.”

Defensemen Kim Johnsson (concussion) and Chris Therien (head) remain sidelined. Captain Derian Hatcher suffered a bruised knee during Wednesday’s 3-2 shootout victory over Carolina, though he’s expected to play Saturday.

The Flyers have won their last two games in shootouts—they beat Montreal 5-4 on Monday—after losing four in a row.

Wednesday’s win over the Hurricanes was particularly satisfying. Besides goalie Antero Niittymaki getting his first win since Jan. 23, Philadelphia slowed one of the league’s better offensive teams and knocked off the team leading the Eastern Conference.

Freddy Meyer scored with 0.2 seconds left in regulation and Simon Gagne tallied in the fourth round of the shootout.

“It was a great win for us against one of the best teams right now,” said Gagne said. “We need these points. Winning at home is huge for us.”

Philadelphia has won four of five at home after losing its previous three games at the Wachovia Center.

Niittymaki, the Olympic tournament MVP after leading Finland to the silver medal, stopped Kevyn Adams and Doug Weight on breakaways in the second period as part of his 29-save performance. He had been 0-4 with a 4.16 goals-against average in his last five appearances.

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