MINNEAPOLIS -- The game in Philadelphia is over but the road trip continues and the news doesn't stop as I sit in a starkly vacant US Airways terminal upon landing. While I was in the air, the Sabres officially called up Mark Mancari from Portland for Sunday's game against the Wild in the wake of the injuries to Jochen Hecht and Mike Grier, who left Saturday's game in the second period. Mancari is currently third in the AHL in scoring with 64 points (32-32) in 56 games.
Saturday's 5-3 win in Philadelphia was one of those rush-for-the-plane affairs that didn't allow you to soak in all that was going on or collect the kind of notes you normally might after an afternoon contest.
So on the flight to Minnesota, I collected some of these thoughts/statbits:
---The Sabres are really thin in the middle, especially with Hecht out. So they put Brad Boyes there between Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville. Pretty good combination and Lindy Ruff said he liked how Boyes handled the middle for the first time all season. Still, Boyes is best on the wing. I was wondering if we'd see Luke Adam or Paul Byron Sunday but Mancari got the call. Byron, by the way, had a Gordie Howe hat trick for Portland in Saturday's 8-3 win over Bridgeport.
---The Sabres' six-game point streak (4-0-2), all with Terry Pegula in charge, is their longest of the season. They've also got points in the last six on the road, the first time they've done that since October, 2008.
---The Flyers were 21-2-1 when leading after the first period. And they are now 28-6-3 when scoring first -- but have lost four times in the last week doing that!
---Wonder if Ruff is going to try to use two defenseman on the points on the power play to cut down on the short-handed goal tally. It's at 12 and counting after Kimmo Timonen's goal Saturday and the Flyers had two other good chances as they took advantage of Tim Connolly at the point. The Sabres have scored only two so they're minus-10 in short-handed goals. That means they're plus-11 in all other situations!
---This was the first time the Flyers lost in regulation when leading by at least two goals since a 6-5 loss to the Sabres on Oct. 11, 2006. Many of you emailed to say you remember that one, a game the Sabres won on a Grier goal in the dying seconds.
---Wish all players would react to a benching like Andrej Sekera. He has four straight two-point games since returning to the lineup, collecting two goals and six assists.
---The Sabres blocked 29 shots, the most this year by a Flyers opponent. The Flyers attempted a whopping 83 shots in the game while Buffalo had only 57.