PHILADELPHIA — Every change coach Ralph Krueger made Saturday night seemed to ignite the Buffalo Sabres in Wells Fargo Center.
Jeff Skinner reunited with Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart to create a formidable top line. Skinner even sparked the power play when he was moved to the first unit during the third period.
The adjustments led to arguably one of the Sabres' most impressive games of the season, yet they had nothing to show for it. Carter Hutton allowed two goals in the third period, as the Philadelphia Flyers extended their winning streak to nine with a 3-1 victory over Buffalo.
The Sabres (29-31-8) have lost six games in a row and have scored two or fewer goals in seven straight. Dominik Kahun scored his second goal with the Sabres and 12th of the season to tie the score, 1-1, in the second period.
Flyers captain Claude Giroux scored two goals, including one in the third to give Philadelphia a 2-1 lead, and Joel Farabee added to the lead by taking advantage of Hutton misplaying the puck with 5:01 remaining in the third. The Flyers (41-20-7) remain tied with Washington for first place in the Metropolitan Division.
Strong start: The Flyers did not have a shot on goal until 12:16 into the first period, when Hutton stopped Travis Konecny's attempt from the left circle. Additionally, Buffalo allowed only three shots during consecutive penalty kills. Colin Miller's holding infraction occurred only 10 seconds after Brandon Montour's slashing penalty expired.
Missed opportunity: The Sabres recorded zero shots on goal during their first-period power play, as they committed neutral-zone turnovers and failed to generate much offensive-zone time.
Close call: Skinner sprung Reinhart for a breakaway, but Flyers goalie Carter Hart stopped the shot at 5:51 into the game. The Sabres out-shot Philadelphia, 13-4, in the first period and had four more shot attempts than the Flyers. Entering Saturday, Buffalo was 11-8-1 when tied after the first period this season.
Top line: Skinner, Reinhart and Eichel made a significant impact after starting a game for the first time this season. Reinhart almost gave the Sabres a 1-0 lead at 4:07 into the second period by corralling a pass from Skinner and getting two shots on net from atop the crease, but Hart managed to make both saves.
Opening salvo: Giroux gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead at 10:04 into the second period on a play in which he used his skate to stop a centering pass from Jakub Voracek and fired a backhand shot past Hutton.
Settling in: Kahun, who was acquired from Pittsburgh at the trade deadline Feb. 24, recorded his fourth point in five games by scoring the tying goal with 3:06 remaining in the second period. The 24-year-old forward was left wide open to Hart's left because the Flyers thought Olofsson was going to shoot the puck from the slot. Instead, Olofsson snapped his six-game point drought with the primary assist to Kahun.
Marcus Johansson made the goal possible with his backhanded centering pass from behind Philadelphia's net. Johansson also has four points in his last five games.
Adjustment: During the third period, Krueger replaced Rasmus Dahlin with Skinner on the top power play and moved Ristolainen to the point. The change ignited the Sabres' special teams, leading to six shots on goal in less than five minutes, though Buffalo was unable to scored during their first power play of the third period.
Another lead: The Flyers took a 2-1 lead at 9:28 in the third period, when Voracek's centering pass went off Jake McCabe's stick and to Giroux, who scored his 21st goal of the season with a one-timer past Hutton.
Lineup: Defenseman Lawrence Pilut (illness) was not available to play against the Flyers, leading the Sabres to recall defenseman John Gilmour from Rochester. Gilmour and winger Jimmy Vesey were healthy scratches.
Next: The Sabres are off Sunday and will hold a morning skate Monday in preparation for their game against the Washington Capitals in KeyBank Center.