The Flyers will end March – a month that has been cruel to their playoff hopes – by playing road games Monday and Wednesday against a Buffalo team that has lost 17 straight.
The Flyers will try to extend the Sabres’ misery and build off their 2-1 win Saturday against the New York Rangers.
Buffalo has the NHL’s longest skid since Pittsburgh lost 18 in a row early in 2004.
Entering Sunday, the Sabres were last in the league in scoring (2 goals per game) and 29th in goals allowed (3.52), while the Flyers were 13th in scoring (3.06) and 30th in goals permitted (3.58).
The Sabres are without captain Jack Eichel (18 points in 21 games), who is on the injured-reserve list and hasn’t played since March 7.
Buffalo has been outscored by a 70-32 margin during its streak, which includes three losses to the Flyers – a pair of 3-0 shutouts and a 5-4 shootout defeat on March 9 at the Wells Fargo Center.
In the latter game, the Flyers overcame a 4-2 deficit as they got goals from Claude Giroux and Shayne Gostisbehere (power play) late in the third period, then won in the shootout as Sean Couturier had the winner.
Buffalo also blew a third-period lead Saturday as it fell in Boston, 3-2.
“Pressure should be off right now,” Sabres winger Kyle Okposo, who has just two goals in 25 games, said after the latest loss. “Obviously we have the weight of this, of what’s going on, but we shouldn’t be squeezing our sticks right now. We should be playing free, playing the right way, trying to make things happen.”
The Flyers, who are 5-9-1 this month, are 4-1 against Buffalo this season; the team that has scored first has won each of the five games.
Brian “Moose” Elliott, who relieved Carter Hart (three goals on eight shots) and got the win the last time the Flyers faced Buffalo, is expected to get his second straight start.
Elliott has been dominating this season against Buffalo: a 3-0 record with a 0.92 GAA and .967 save percentage.
The Flyers are 8-6-1 on the road, while the Sabres are 2-11-2 at home. ... Buffalo is 11-for-12 on the penalty kill this year against the Flyers, the Sabres’ best PK percentage (91.7) against any team this season. ... Joel Farabee leads the Flyers with 14 goals, one more than James van Riemsdyk. ... The Sabres are the NHL’s least-penalized team with an average of 6:16 per game; the Flyers are the 15th-most penalized team (8:05 per game). ... Sam Reinhart has four goals in five games against the Flyers this season.