By Annie Ross
Rookie Travis Sanheim scored his first NHL goal and the Flyers won their fifth straight, 2-1 over the Buffalo Sabres.
Valterri Filppula scored the go-ahead goal, and Brian Elliott made 19 saves for the Flyers (13-11-17), who have their longest streak since winning 10 in a row Nov. 27-Dec. 14, 2016.
Sanheim’s goal at 4:02 of the first period tied the game 1-1. Lehner went behind the net to play the puck, but his pass went off Flyers forward Dale Weise and rolled to Jordan Weal in the left corner. Weise got it back from Weal below the goal line and passed to Sanheim in the left face-off circle for a one-timer past Lehner.
“I saw their winger was cheating a bit toward the boards, and I jumped down low,” Sanheim said. “Made sure I placed it where I wanted to.”
Weise retrieved the puck from the net for Sanheim.
“He’s been pressing for a little while,” Weise said. “So happy to see him get it, see the smile on this face. That’s going to do wonders for his game.”
Filppula put the Flyers ahead 2-1 at 17:27 of the second period. After defenseman Robert Hagg got his stick on a Sabres clearing attempt, Michael Raffl was first to the loose puck and passed it toJakub Voracek at the bottom of the right face-off circle. Voracek faked a shot and then sent it to a cutting Filppula, who one-timed it over Lehner’s right shoulder.
The assist was Voracek’s NHL-leading 31st of the season.
O’Reilly gave the Sabres a 1-0 lead 1:29 into the game. Elliott went behind the net to play a dump-in but shot it into Sabres forward Zemgus Girgensons, who passed it in front to O’Reilly for a shot into an open net.
Buffalo nearly took a 2-0 lead when another Elliott miscue leftSam Reinhart with an open net, but forward Nolan Patrick blocked the shot on the goal line at 3:43.