In the early part of this uneven season, the Flyers were the team that hit the snooze button a few too many times. Starts of games were an issue, rarely emerging with a lead, but second periods were their savior. Lately, that formula has been reversed, and over their last two lopsided losses to members of the NHL elite, early momentum has given way to messy second periods.
This is the first of four meetings between the teams this season. All four of those games will come inside of the next month: Jan.20 in Philly, Feb. 1 in Newark, Feb. 13 back in Philly. Including playoffs, the Flyers are 127-123-18 all time against the Devils, but are 51-74-8 on the road.
Buffalo is 0-2-1 in its last three games, 2-5-3 in its last 10 and 4-9-5 in its last 18. They are 1-3-2 since beating the Flyers 4-2 on Dec. 22. The Flyers have erupted for 12 goals in their two wins since a listless 5-1 loss to the Penguins Tuesday.
Sam Donnellon is a Flyers beat writer for the Daily News and Inquirer. His career has spanned four decades and has taken him all over the world. Prior to joining the Daily News in 1992, he worked as a national writer for the short-lived but highly acclaimed National Sports Daily. He has received state and national awards at each stop and has been honored repeatedly by the Associated Press Sports Editors, the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association, the National Association of Black Journalists, and the Associated Press Managing Editors.