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Five Things to Know as Sabres host Flyers

The Buffalo Sabres will head into the Christmas break with back-to-back games.

Here are Five Things to Know as they open the weekend by hosting the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday.

1. Lineup changes

After getting blanked by Boston on Tuesday, Buffalo is switching its forward lines. Here were the trios during the morning skate in KeyBank Center:

Evander Kane-Ryan O'Reilly-Kyle Okposo
Zemgus Girgensons-Jack Eichel-Sam Reinhart
Benoit Pouliot-Jacob Josefson-Jason Pominville
Jordan Nolan-Johan Larsson-Scott Wilson

Evan Rodrigues served as the extra and will likely be scratched. He has two goals and three points in seven games but has nothing in the last four.

Wilson will return after a one-game scratch.

"He's just got to continue what he brought when he first initially got here," coach Phil Housley said. "He was just really aggressive on the forecheck, finishing checks. That's going to be important because they've got a couple D back there (Shayne Gostisbehere and Ivan Provorov) that like to jump in the play, and we're going to have to be on the right side of things."

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The defense pairs were:

Marco Scandella-Rasmus Ristolainen
Jake McCabe-Zach Bogosian
Josh Gorges-Nathan Beaulieu

The extra pair was Justin Falk with Victor Antipin.

2. Riding the hot goalie

Sabres goaltender Robin Lehner will start for the 11th time in 13 games. He's been particularly stingy lately.

Lehner has stopped 204 of 217 shots (.940 save percentage) in the last six games. He's been even better at five-on-five, turning aside 155 of 162 shots for a .957 save percentage.

The goaltender leads the NHL with a 1.94 goals-against average at home and is second with a .935 save percentage in KeyBank Center.

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3. Two in a row

Following the game, the Sabres will fly to Carolina to play the Hurricanes on Saturday.

This is the ninth of 16 sets of back-to-back games. Buffalo is 2-6 in the opening game and 2-4-2 in the second game.

"We just keep the game simpler," Housley said of earning more points on the second night. "We try to save the energy, make the right decisions and use our energy in the right direction. Most of those games were on the road, and you're just trying to play a simple game."

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4. Long time gone

The game against the Flyers will be the last one in Buffalo for a while. With the world junior tournament coming to town Tuesday through Jan. 5, the Sabres will depart for seven straight games away from home. The Sabres don't play downtown again until hosting Winnipeg on Jan. 9.

5. Philly is flying

The Flyers are 7-1 in their last eight games, improving their overall record to 15-12-7. The run includes a 2-1 home victory over the Sabres on Dec. 14. The Flyers have won four of their last five games against the Sabres.

Philadelphia has at least one power-play goal in six of its last eight games, going 7 for 23 for an impressive 30.4 percent.

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