Flyers-Sabres Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 19, 2013
Despite his team missing the playoffs for a third time in five seasons, Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula maintained his faith in his current personnel - namely general manager Darcy Regier and coach Lindy Ruff. Buffalo begins its quest to return to the postseason Sunday when it hosts the Philadelphia Flyers, who have ended the Sabres' attempts to reach the playoffs in each of the last two seasons. Pegula opened his pocketbook before last season to sign Christian Ehrhoff and Ville Leino and also took on Robyn Regehr's hefty contract from Calgary. Buffalo's well-financed owner, though, got very little return on his investment as the Sabres finished with 89 points - four shy of a playoff berth. "It wasn't a good feeling at all at the end of last year," defenseman Tyler Myers said. "And I think feeling that way at the end of last year is going to motivate each guy in this room that much more to not feel that way again." Instead of changing direction, Pegula gave Regier a contract extension and the two have stuck with essentially the same personnel. One of the only major changes came when Buffalo traded center Derek Roy to Dallas for Steve Ott and Adam Pardy. Ott had 39 points for the Stars in 2011-12, his second-best total in any season, and should provide some grittiness as he has at least 135 penalty minutes in each of the past five campaigns. That quality was missing at times last season in front of former Vezina Trophy-winning goaltender Ryan Miller, who missed time with a concussion after being run over by Boston's Milan Lucic on Nov. 12. At one point last season, Buffalo (39-32-11) was without nine regulars. "We went through everything, the good, the bad and the ugly,'' said Ruff, the NHL's longest active coach with one team. "We've cleared the air this summer. I think that's a good place to be. I think the true test, though, is when you get knocked down a little bit to hold that standard. That will be our true test." The Sabres will be tested by a Flyers team that's eager to avoid back-to-back losses to open a season for the first time since 2008-09. Philadelphia gave up two early goals to Pittsburgh in a 3-1 defeat Saturday, and new captain Claude Giroux tallied the Flyers' only score in the opening minute of the second period. "After the first 13, 14 minutes, we seemed to play more of a style we're looking for. We had a lot of shots, opportunities, but didn't capitalize on them," said coach Peter Laviolette, whose team went 0 for 5 on the power play. Philadelphia won't get a very warm welcome in its road opener. Buffalo fans could be revved up after seeing the Flyers end their team's hopes in each of the past two campaigns. The Sabres, who have never won a Stanley Cup since joining the league in 1970-71, lost in seven games to the Flyers in the 2011 Eastern Conference quarterfinals and were eliminated from playoff contention last season with a 2-1 loss April 5. Buffalo hasn't advanced past the first round of the postseason since reaching the East finals in 2007. The Flyers swept last season's four matchups with the Sabres and recorded a pair of one-goal wins in Buffalo. Giroux finished off his team's 5-4 overtime victory Dec. 7 with his only goal in the season series. Giroux, though, had 10 assists over those four games against Buffalo after recording eight in the playoff series. Miller was 0-2-1 with a 5.24 goals-against average last season versus Philadelphia. Leino is questionable for this game because of a leg injury. He had two goals against his former team last season.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Kings engaging in trade talks for Cousins

Report: Romo willing to rework contract to facilitate trade

Lonzo Ball's father says son is better than Curry right now

Report: Rams could have interest in Cousins if Goff flops

Report: Butler to Celtics talk will loom over All-Star week

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Carmelo expects to remain with Knicks

James Harden: ‘For sure’ I’m the best player in the world

Report: Pats expected to make good effort to keep Bennett

Glenn Robinson III dunks over three people to win Slam Dunk Contest

Kevin Durant booed at All-Star introductions in New Orleans

Charles Oakley joins Ice Cube’s 3-on-3 league

Is the NBA All-Star Game worth saving?

There will never be another Dirk Nowitzki

The Rewind: Michael Jordan's last All-Star Game

Best of Yardbarker: NBA All-Star Games past, present and future

Eat, Drink, Watch: Everything goes better with a side of New Orleans

Box Score 2/17: Happy birthday, Michael Jordan (and welcome to 1000 point club, Sid!)

The 'Michael Jordan might still win the Dunk contest if he entered' quiz

How to reboot NBA All-Star Weekend

Second-year NBA stars who can salvage the season

Observations from a day at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

Box Score 2/16: Getting ready for the ASG

Too much to Process: Can Simmons match the Embiid hype?

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best of YB: NBA All-Star Games past, present and future

Who will break these NBA All-Star Game records?

Is the NBA All-Star Game worth saving?

There will never be another Dirk Nowitzki

The Rewind: Michael Jordan's last All-Star Game

Eat, Drink, Watch: Everything goes better with a side of New Orleans

How to reboot NBA All-Star Weekend

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

Second-year NBA stars who can salvage the season

Observations from a day at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker