BUFFALO – Tired or not, goalie Brian Elliott will make his 10th straight start and his 18th in the last 20 games — he has played in 19 of them — when the visiting Flyers meet the Sabres on Friday night.
"He's been real good for us; he's feeling good, he's feeling strong, and there's no reason we wouldn't go back with him," coach Dave Hakstol said after the morning skate at the KeyBank Center.
Elliott, 32, has dominated the Sabres in his career, compiling a 12-1-2 record, a 1.79 goals-against average, and a .938 save percentage.
This season, the Sabres have averaged a league-worst 2.12 goals per game.
Veteran backup Michal Neuvirth is not quite ready to return from an injury, and the Flyers aren't confident enough to go with rookie Alex Lyon, even if Hakstol won't admit it.
Hakstol said he hadn't decided who would start Saturday night in Columbus. No one would be surprised if he rides Elliott again.
Asked if he was worried about the fatigue factor affecting Elliott, Hakstol said: "You monitor every player, every situation. You always make sure communication is good and monitor it like you do any other position."
Elliott is 13-7-6 this season with a 2.67 goals-against average and .912 save percentage. He will be opposed by Robin Lehner, who is 7-14-4 with a 2.76 GAA and .914 save percentage. Lehner has a .940 save percentage in his last six games.
Buffalo dropped a 2-1 decision to Elliott and the Flyers on Dec. 14, with Lehner in het. Despite his record, he has been outstanding at home this season, registering a 1.94 goals-against average (tops in the NHL) and a .935 save percentage (second in the NHL).
The Flyers, winners of seven of their last eight games, will begin the night three points out of a wild-card spot.
"We have to make sure we're not checking out before Christmastime," winger Travis Konecny said. "Everyone's excited to see their families and stuff, but these are going to be two hard road games we have to finish out, and it's just going to be a matter of keeping it simple on the road."
Winger Wayne Simmonds said the team has "simplified our game and done a good job of playing north-south hockey."
Center Scott Laughton said the Flyers "need to be good tonight and set the tone before the break and then go right back at it tomorrow" in Columbus.
— Based on the morning skate, left winger Taylor Leier will remain out of the lineup and will again be replaced by Jori Lehtera.
— The Sabres have the league's second-worst home record at 4-10-2 and have been frequently booed at the KeyBank Center
— Jake Voracek is fifth in the league with 42 points.
— Shayne Gostisbehere is tied for seventh in the NHL with 16 power-play points, one point behind Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby
— Claude Giroux needs two games to pass Simon Gagne for 10th on the Flyers' all-time list.