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Flyers-Sabres preview: Free-falling Philly 2 losses shy of unwanted record

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Winger Wade Allison will make his season debut Saturday afternoon for the Philadelphia Flyers in Buffalo. Photo: Zack Hill/Flyers.

The Philadelphia Flyers and Buffalo Sabres — two-sad-sack teams searching for wins and an identity — will meet Saturday afternoon at KeyBank Arena.

In what has seemingly become part of their routine, the Flyers will be trying to end a losing streak, this one a 10-game skid, their second one of the season.

Philly (13-19-8)  is two games short of equaling an unwanted record: longest winless streak in franchise history, set in 1998-99, a year they still made the playoffs and finished 37-26-19 in the regular season.

Buffalo (12-21-7) has lost nine of its last 11 games.

The Flyers are hoping winger Wade Allison, who will make his season debut after being promoted from the Phantoms, will give their offense a boost. They are averaging 1.9 goals over their last 10 games.

The Flyers have yet to win since the calendar flipped to 2022; their last victory was Dec. 29, a 3-2 overtime triumph in Seattle. Will this be their breakthrough day?

Storylines

For the Flyers, a better start would help. They have allowed the first goal in eight of the last nine games, and they are 2-17-3 when surrendering the first goal.

Another storyline: Rasmus Ristolainen will be playing his first game against Buffalo since he was traded to the Flyers in July for Robert Hagg and first- and second-round draft picks. Both are regulars with their new teams, and are having similar seasons. Ristolainen, a potential UFA in July, is ninth in the NHL in hits.

The Flyers are missing a slew of injured players, including Joel Farabee (shoulder), Sean Couturier (upper body), Kevin Hayes (hip), Ryan Ellis (lower body), Derick Brassard (hip), Patrick Brown (knee) and Nate Thompson (shoulder).

Likewise, Buffalo has numerous players injured or ill. Eleven, to be exact, including center Casey Mittelstadt, and wingers Kyle Okposo and Zemgus Girgensons.

Flyers’ projected lineup

Line 1: Claude Giroux centering Oskar Lindblom/James van Riemsdyk and Cam Atkinson.

Line 2: Scott Laughton centering Wade Allison and Travis Konecny.

Line 3: Morgan Frost centering Lindblom/van Riemsdyk and Gerry Mayhew.

Line 4: Jackson Cates centering Max Willman and Zack MacEwen.

Defense: Ivan Provorov and Justin Braun; Cam York and Travis Sanheim; Keith Yandle and Rasmus Ristolainen.

Goalie: Martin Jones.

Numbers Dept.

The Flyers are 28th in the NHL in goals scored per game (2.48) and the Sabres are 26th (2.58).

Defensively, Buffalo is 27th in the 32-team league, allowing 3.45 goals per game. That said, Columbus was 28th in the NHL (3.54) and the Flyers managed just one goal Thursday.

The Flyers are 24th, allowing 3.28 goals per game.

Who’s hot

For the Flyers, Scott Laughton has an assist in four straight games.

Left winger Jeff Skinner, who leads the Sabres with 14 goals, has three goals and five points over his last five games.

Projected goalie matchup­­­

Jones (3.31, .908) will get the call for the Flyers and will face Michael Houser (1.00, .977 in one game).

How to watch

NBC Sports Philadelphia at 1 p.m.

Money line (FanDuel)

Flyers: minus-128.

Sabres: plus-106.

Prediction

I flipped a coin. Sabres 4, Flyers 3 in overtime.

(Prediction record: 8-1)

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