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View Count: 249 |  Publish Date: April 07, 2014
Flyers wallop Sabres to snap four-game losing streak
Frank Seravalli, Daily News Staff WriterPosted: Sunday, April 6, 2014, 10:26 PM
Sean Couturier began growing his caveman-like orange beard back in early December — well before the Flyers had popped up on the playoff radar.
Since Dec. 1, right around the time he put his razor away, the Flyers have gone on a 28-16-7 run to make believers out of most of the Eastern Conference.
Heading into Sunday night’s matchup with the Sabres, Couturier thought it was time for a change.
The magic in his “playoff’’ beard — since just about every game for the Flyers since December has had playoff implications after their 4-10-1 start — had apparently run dry. His team was 1-4-2 in its previous seven games. More coverageVOTE: Can Mason lead Flyers deep into playoffs?Latest hockey videos Forum: Do the Flyers have a chance at the Stanley Cup? Can the Flyers make a long playoff run with Steve Mason in goal? Yes.No. View results
So, Couturier brought out the clippers early Sunday morning and shaved off an inch or two — but didnt go completely baby-faced. He left just enough scruff to get a head start on his older, grizzlier teammates for when the regular season ends next Sunday.
“It was time to move on and try to start a new streak here,’’ Couturier said.
Let the record reflect, then, that the Flyers’ new streak started against the last-place Sabres in a game that Scott Hartnell dubbed a “must-win.’’
Frankly, on a night when the Blue Jackets pasted the Islanders to briefly draw even in the standings for the first time in nearly a month, it was as must-win a game as possible for a team in a mostly comfortable playoff position.
That tie with Columbus in the Metropolitan Division lasted only a few hours.
The Flyers restored order in their world, snapping a four-game losing streak with a rather methodical, 5-2 victory to sweep the season series against Buffalo.
The win was the Flyers 40th of the season — the 27th time in their 46-season history that they’ve reached that mark. With the two points, the Flyer regained control of third place in the Metropolitan with four games to play. They have 89 points and trail the second-place Rangers by just two points with one game remaining in-hand.
For a team with little more than moral victories on their stat sheet over the last week, the Sabres were the perfect appetizer ahead of a juicy week of opponents for the Flyers.
Just about every facet of the Flyers’ once off-kilter game fell back into alignment. The power play got back on track with its second goal of the weekend. Brayden Schenn broke free with two goals after not scoring since March 22. Vinny Lecavalier, back on the fourth line, scored his 19th of the season. And one-man wrecking ball Zac Rinaldo netted his second goal of the season before being whistled for three minor penalties and thrown out with a match penalty in the third period.
Defenseman Mark Streit picked up three assists. Goaltender Steve Mason posted his first assist since April 27, 2013 — though his shutout bid fell short.
Even Claude Giroux, who had grown frustrated with the Flyers’ lack of offense in recent outings, was back to his old self, making plays all over the ice. He was back to dragging the puck between his legs and setting up teammates for point-blank scoring chances.
Part of all those positives, to be sure, could be chalked up to their 21-win opponent.
Yet, as the Flyers have learned with their grueling schedule over the last month, you can only do your best against the opponents offered. After all, these final games of the season were supposed to be the light at the end of the tunnel. Previous Story:Bobrovsky makes 31 saves in Jackets win over IslesNext Story: Flyers flatten Sabres to end slump Frank SeravalliDaily News Staff Writer #post2 .pw-icon.ra1-pw-icon-reddit {background: url() 0px 0px no-repeat !important;width: 60px !important;height: 20px !important;margin-right:8px;}#post2 .pw-icon.ra1-pw-icon-email {background: url() 0px 0px no-repeat !important;width: 71px !important;height: 28px !important;}0 commentsReprints & Permissions »

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Time: 3:51  |  News Code: 396617  |  Site: philly.com
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