With a new look in net, the Philadelphia Flyers will face the Buffalo Sabres three times this coming season. The Flyers haven’t made a whole lot of splashes in the offseason, but they have added free agent goaltender Ray Emery, formerly of the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks, and long-time Tampa Bay Lightning forward Vincent Lecavalier.
The team didn’t sign goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, who remains a free agent to this day and who may not get any NHL offers before the season begins. Steve Mason remains with the team after being acquired in April, but it’s unclear at this point whether Emery or Mason will become the top goalie.
Lecavalier’s addition to the Flyers will provide a completely different outlook on things, as he’s spent his entire NHL career to date with the Tampa Bay Lightning. After 1,037 games and 874 points, he moves to Philadelphia this season. In his NHL career so far, Lecavalier has scored 38 points in 49 games against the Sabres.
The Flyers also acquired the rights to – and then signed – Mark Streit. The veteran Swiss defenseman spent the last four seasons with the New York Islanders. He had six goals and 21 assists for 27 points in 48 games last season and is nearly his 500th NHL game. In 34 career NHL games against the Sabres, Streit has 25 points.
One factor that will be missing when the Philadelphia Flyers face the Sabres this coming season? Former Sabres captain Daniel Briere, who joins the Montreal Canadiens.
Flyers captain Claude Giroux, who suffered an offseason golf injury, missed Hockey Canada Olympic orientation camp and is expected to spend the next few weeks rehabbing that injury. Giroux signed an eight-year contract extension back in July.
Buffalo won two of the three meetings between the Sabres and Flyers last season, with both wins coming at home and the loss on the road. Thomas Vanek had a pair of goals and three assists as the Sabres defeated Philadelphia 5-2 on January 20. Next, Brian Flynn and Jochen Hecht scored as Philadelphia grabbed a 3-2 victory on March 10. Finally, Christian Ehrhoff had the lone goal in a 1-0 Enroth shutout win on April 13 in the final meeting of the season.
Players to Watch
- PHILADELPHIA: First up: Claude Giroux. The centerman has 20 points in 18 career games against the Sabres. Watch out for new addition Vincent Lecavalier, who as I said above, has scored 38 points in 49 games against the Sabres. Also keep an eye out for Simon Gagne, who has 32 points in 36 career games against Buffalo. Others to watch include the Schenn brothers and Scott Hartnell.
- BUFFALO: Defensemen Christian Ehrhoff and Tyler Myers have each scored seven points in 12 career games against the Philadelphia Flyers. Steve Ott has nine points in 11 games versus the Flyers, and Thomas Vanek has 26 points in 30 games against Philadelphia in his NHL career.
Meetings This Season
- November 21 @ PHI
- January 14 @ BUF
- April 6 @ PHI