Sabres 6, Flyers 5
Mike Grier’s goal with 4.6 seconds remaining in regulation lifted Buffalo to a 6-5 victory over the Flyers on Saturday.
The streaking Sabres have won five straight and are 12-1-2 in the last 15 games to get within two points of Northeast Division-leading Ottawa. Buffalo also had a 15-1-1 stretch earlier in the season.
“We really played a tremendous game,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. “We gave up scoring chances because maybe we were a little too aggressive but that same aggressiveness won us a game.”
Standing in front, Grier took a pass from Derek Roy behind the net and slipped a shot past goaltender Antero Niittymaki for the winning goal in a wide-open game that featured seven goals in the second period.
“Roy kind of jumped their defenseman,” Grier said. “I don’t think the defenseman saw him. He was able to pick his pocket and he just threw it out to me. It was kind of just a bang-bang play.”
The Flyers have lost five of their last seven games, with the two victories coming in shootouts.
“It’s a tough way to lose a game,” Gagne said. “We had a lot of chances, but you’re not going to score with only one shot in the third period.”
Drury’s power-play goal tied it at 5 in the third period. His shot from the side of the net sailed over Niittymaki’s shoulder.
Richards gave the Flyers a 5-4 lead in the second. Enforcer Donald Brashear set up the goal with a rare display of offensive skill. Brashear skated down the left side and sent a crisp pass to the trailing Branko Radivojevic, who backhanded a pass to the streaking Richards in the slot. Richards lifted a shot under the crossbar for his 11th goal.
“We were up 5-4 and we stopped playing and they totally outplayed us in the third,” Flyers center Peter Forsberg said. “We were not skating and not doing anything. We didn’t work hard for our chances.”
Gagne tied it at 4 a few minutes earlier with his 38th goal. The Sabres took their first lead, 4-3, when Numminen scored his first goal of the season on a backhander following another odd-man rush for Buffalo.
The injury-depleted Flyers were without defenseman Derian Hatcher (knee), and center Michal Handzus (shoulder) missed his sixth consecutive game. Defensemen Kim Johnsson (concussion) and Chris Therien (head) remain out indefinitely, while former captain Keith Primeau (concussion) is out for the season.
Savage broke a 2-all tie with Philadelphia’s second short-handed goal of the game. He ripped a slap shot from inside the left circle past Miller. But Briere tied it at 3 on a power-play goal 1:15 later.
Dumont got Buffalo’s first goal on a shot into a wide-open net 15 seconds into the second period. Hecht scored his 18th goal to tie it at 2 during a scramble in which the Sabres had several opportunities.
Kapanen’s short-handed goal midway through the first period gave Philadelphia a 2-0 lead. Kapanen picked up a loose puck near the Flyers’ blue line after a turnover by Thomas Vanek, skated down the left side and lifted a shot into the top corner for his 10th goal.
Flyers RW Turner Stevenson was a healthy scratch. Stevenson was put on waivers earlier in the week, but remained with the team after he wasn’t claimed. … The Flyers have 14 short-handed goals this season. … Buffalo is 15-11-2 when it doesn’t score first, 26-5-3 when it does.