The first time Anders Nilsson played a game for the Sabres, he had a 3-0 lead over the Philadelphia Flyers. Buffalo lost, 4-3.
There was no way that was going to happen twice.
Nilsson shut the door Tuesday, making 39 saves to backstop the Sabres to a 4-1 victory over the Flyers. The goaltender made 13 saves in each of the three periods. Brayden Schenn ended the shutout bid with 2:07 to play, collecting a carom in the slot.
Nilsson improved to 5-1-2 in his last eight decisions and 7-3-4 overall. Buffalo moved to 3-0-1 in its last four.
Nilsson made his debut with the Sabres on Oct. 25 in Philly. Late penalties against a potent Flyers power play killed the Sabres that day, but the team played much cleaner and more confident Tuesday.
Second-period turnaround: Philadelphia entered the night outscoring teams, 53-37, during second periods. Buffalo flipped the script, scoring three goals and allowing none to take a 3-0 lead.
Reinhart stays hot: Sabres forward Sam Reinhart continued his hot streak, recording a goal and two assists. He has points in eight of the last 10 games, putting up three goals, nine assists and 12 points.
Power-play start: Buffalo opened the scoring with the man-advantage five minutes into second. Jack Eichel, Ryan O’Reilly and Rasmus Ristolainen worked the puck around the Flyers’ zone, with Ristolainen feeding Reinhart at the left side of the net for his ninth goal of the year.
Rebound: After missing two games with the flu, Sabres left wing William Carrier made the Flyers feel sick. Goaltender Steve Mason gave up a huge rebound on Taylor Fedun’s shot, and Carrier easily deposited it for his second goal of the year with 8:39 gone.
Late connections: The Sabres would have been happy to enter intermission with a 2-0 lead, but Evander Kane gladly made it 3-0 with 8.9 seconds left. A shot by Reinhart hit a Flyers defender and caromed to Kane, who ripped his 10th of the season between Mason and the post.
Marcus Foligno scored into an empty net with 3.3 seconds to play.
Throw ’em: The Sabres’ Nicolas Deslauriers and the Flyers’ Brandon Manning had a spirited, punch-filled fight with 5:28 off the clock. After a takedown, Deslauriers stood and implored the fans to get loud.
Grant waived: After failing to produce a goal, Derek Grant is apparently shuffling out of Buffalo. The Sabres put the center on waivers, and the other NHL teams have until noon Wednesday to claim the 26-year-old. If no one does, the Sabres can send Grant to Rochester.
He has no goals and three assists in 35 games while taking just 31 shots. He has never scored in 75 NHL games. The only category were Grant has made an impression is faceoffs. He ranked second among Sabres centers with a 52.6 success rate.
According to CapFriendly.com, Grant is on a one-year contract worth $650,000 in the NHL and $400,000 in the American Hockey League.
Sick and injured: Goaltender Robin Lehner did not dress due to the flu. The Sabres recalled Linus Ullmark from Rochester to serve as the backup. Defenseman Josh Gorges sat for the third time in four games with a hip injury. Forward Tyler Ennis took part in the morning skate as he nears a return from sports hernia/groin surgery.
Meanwhile, in Rochester, Hudson Fasching is expected to play Wednesday. The prospect hasn’t played since suffering a groin injury in October.
Next: The Sabres will pack their gear Wednesday afternoon for a two-game road trip. They will visit the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday and head to Carolina to face the Hurricanes on Friday.