BUFFALO, N.Y. – The World Series is over. The calendar has flipped to November. The wind chill in Buffalo on Thursday night was 27 degrees.
What do those three things point to? The fact that the Flyers will soon be thrust into the Philadelphia spotlight after playing in a virtual media abyss for the first five weeks of the season.
Here are a few things to watch for when you tune in to The Comcast Network on Friday night to watch the Flyers take on the Sabres at 7:30 p.m.:
-Get used to seeing the Flyers and Sabres. This is the first of three meetings between these two teams in two weeks, which is another scheduling oddity. They only play 4 times this season.
-Which Flyers team will we see? The Flyers have outscored their opponents 12-3 in their last two games, routs over the lowly Carolina Hurricanes and Tampa Bay Lightning. The four points were important, but those games aren’t a good measuring stick. The Sabres (9-2-1) are a different story. It will be interesting to see which Flyers team takes the ice at HSBC Arena: the team that is downright nasty in front of the net and salivates for loose pucks or the team that is wildly inconsistent and takes nights off?
-Will face-offs make a difference? As of Thursday night, the Sabres are the NHL’s 4th-best team in the face-off circle. Buffalo crushed the NHL’s 6th best team, the New York Islanders, on draws, 38 to 9, on Wednesday. The Flyers rank 20th but at one point in the early going were 28th. As the Buffalo News said on Friday, it could change the game.
-Can the Flyers get to Ryan Miller? Miller could be the United States’ starting goal when the Olympic cauldron is lit in Vancouver in 98 days. This year, he has been on fire. He has an NHL-best .941 save percentage. The Flyers have done a great job getting to the net and screening the opponent’s goaltender in the last two games.
-Will the flu impact the Flyers? More than a handful of players missed time this week at practice with the flu. The flu can turn a speedy team into a sluggish team. Last year, Marty Biron said that it took him almost a full month to fully recover from the flu and feel himself.
The Buffalo News went to great length on Friday to compare the Flyers and Sabres offensive philosophies, too. It’s a pretty interesting read.
That’s the scoop for now. I will update Friday afternoon with lines from both teams.
By the way, my waitress at dinner on Thursday night was complaining that they didn’t get snow in Buffalo by Halloween. Seriously? Apparently the 100+ inches the region received last year wasn't enough.
I will be live tweeting Friday's game on Twitter. Follow me for the latest updates at http://twitter.com/DNFlyers.