Danny Briere sat in the Flyers' dressing room and felt progressively worse Tuesday night as the Buffalo Sabres blew out the Flyers in one period and won, 5-2.

The center was missing his first game of the season because of a strained right shoulder, but he could be back Saturday against the New York Islanders.

"It was tough to watch, especially after we tied it up 2-2," Briere said yesterday.

At the start of the third period, Derek Roy - on the ice as a fifth Buffalo player during what should have been a four-on-four - scored on a breakaway. Then came a second goal 18 seconds later, followed by another to make it a rout.

"I'm not used to sitting out games," Briere said. "I had [abdominal] surgery a couple of years ago and missed a month and a half. Not very often I miss games. You want to help and want to do something, but you are sitting there watching and you can't help out. That's a bad feeling."

Briere wasn't the only one feeling bad. Goalie Martin Biron, who could be faulted on only one goal, said not having Briere for a game that had major implications in the Eastern Conference crossed his mind as well.

"He's such a big part of our power play," Biron said. The Flyers were 0 for 6 with the man advantage.

"You need guys like Danny on the ice," Biron said.

The Flyers face struggling Tampa Bay tonight. The Lightning are not headed to the playoffs.

Because this is not a division game, the Flyers can gain points without having to worry about sacrificing a point to a division opponent via overtime or a shoot-out.

The Flyers have 74 points with 15 games remaining.

Briere skated on his own yesterday with Joffrey Lupul, who has sprained his right ankle, and Mike Richards, who has torn his left hamstring.

"I was shooting the puck better than I thought," Briere said. There remained an outside chance he could play tonight, but the target was Saturday.

Briere wanted to ensure that his shoulder was fully healthy, and did not want to risk being reinjured and missing significant time, which could harm the Flyers' playoff chances.

"The most important part is you don't want to hurt the team," he said.

"Whining and complaining." Sabres coach Lindy Ruff, speaking to reporters yesterday, discussed Flyers coach John Stevens' complaints about Roy's five-on-four goal.

"I realized that Derek had left early," Ruff said. "There was no doubt. We all knew on the bench. The whining and complaining about that is no different than Jason Pominville hitting the glass in our building against Philly and giving them a power-play goal.

"If we're going to go back and whine about [how] the play changed the game, I can whine about the officiating. I can find something to whine about every night. . . .

"I thought we outplayed them in the third period and deserved to win. Did we get a break? Yeah."

Loose pucks. Defenseman Derian Hatcher (inflamed right knee) skated for the entire practice yesterday. He was paired with Lasse Kukkonen and had no problems. Hatcher, who has missed 11 games, can't come off the long-term-injury list until Saturday, and plans to play against the Islanders. "The knee felt pretty good," he said.

Contact staff writer Tim Panaccio at 215-854-2847 or tpanaccio@phillynews.com.