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Flyers aim to keep guard up against Sabres

Sports & GeneralApr 10, 2021 08:55PM ET
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© Reuters. NHL: Boston Bruins at Philadelphia Flyers

The Philadelphia Flyers look to stay in playoff contention when they host the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday afternoon.

Despite playing two more games than Boston, the Flyers pulled within four points of the final playoff spot in the East following a 3-2 win over the Bruins on Saturday afternoon.

They will move even closer if they can come up with two more points against the Sabres.

"We know," Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere said on NBC Sports Philadelphia, when asked if his team is keeping tabs on the standings.

"We've got to take it game by game. We've got to get points."

The Flyers lost a prime opportunity to do just that on March 31 when they were defeated 6-1 by the Sabres, who had lost their previous 18 games (0-15-3).

While this may look like an easy win for Philadelphia, that's clearly not the case.

"I think every game we've played the last couple of weeks has been a war," Gostisbehere said on NBC Sports Philadelphia.

Travis Konecny collected one goal and one assist on Saturday while Gostisbehere and Sean Couturier also tallied.

"That was a big two points," Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said. "We've got to get ready for (Sunday). It's our fifth game in seven days. We've got to be on top of our game."

The Flyers picked up two huge points, largely because they killed off all four Bruins' power plays. It took a lot of energy, but was necessary to stay afloat.

"Our PK guys did a great job," Vigneault said.

Buffalo will be hoping to avoid a third straight loss when it opens a three-game road trip on Sunday.

There haven't been many positive moments for the skidding Sabres, who will miss the playoffs for the 10th straight season.

Some of the Sabres' younger players have been developing nicely -- including 22-year-old Casey Mittelstadt, who has four goals in his last six games.

"That's a priority and it will remain a priority simply because their ceiling is so high and we need to become a better team," Buffalo interim head coach Don Granato said.

Evaluating players like Mittelstadt will be crucial for the Sabres, who are expected to be active prior to Monday's trade deadline.

"I just had some time to grow up," said Mittelstadt, who was selected eighth overall in the 2017 NHL Draft.

"I think that's (it) more than anything. I don't know, it's so much on the ice, off the ice getting myself ready to play, taking care of my body away from the rink. I think you get in what you put out."

Tage Thompson has also scored three times in the last five games.

"With Tage, he's at a point now where he can be pushed, pushed hard," Granato said. "And we've pushed him and he's responding."

--Field Level Media

Flyers aim to keep guard up against Sabres

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