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Filppula's goal leads Flyers to 5th straight win

PHILADELPHIA -- Valtteri Filppula scored the game-winner with 2 1/2 minutes left in the second period and Travis Sanheim netted his first career goal to help the Philadelphia Flyers win their fifth straight game, 2-1 over the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night.

Brian Elliott made 19 saves for the Flyers, whose winning streak comes on the heels of a 10-game losing streak. The winning stretch began with a three-game Canadian trip that started with coach Dave Hakstol changing the team's formation to a more defensive-minded 1-2-2 alignment. Philadelphia (13-11-7) has outscored opponents 19-8 since.

Ryan O'Reilly scored for the Sabres (8-18-6), who are in the cellar of the Eastern Conference. Buffalo was looking for back-to-back wins for the first time since Oct. 21-24. The Sabres' point streak was snapped at five games.

Filppula put the Flyers ahead 2-1 after Jakub Voracek set up the play with his eighth assist in the last five games, passing to a cutting Filppula who shot high over Robin Lehner's right shoulder.

The Flyers tied the game at 1 just over 4 minutes into the first period on Sanheim's first career goal as the rookie defenseman's wrist shot from long range got past Lehner.

Buffalo opened the scoring 1 1/2 minutes into the game thanks to a miscue by Elliott. The Flyers goalie attempted to clear the puck from behind the net, but he passed right into Buffalo's Zemgus Girgensons. The Buffalo center then passed in front to O'Reilly, who shot into an empty net for his eighth goal of the season.

Elliott made a similar mistake 2 minutes later, and Sam Reinhart intercepted his pass from behind the net. But Reinhart's shot with Elliott out of the crease was denied by rookie center Nolan Patrick.

The Sabres entered with the fewest goals in the league (67) and the first-period tally was just their 15th of the season in the opening 20 minutes.

Game notes
Sabres D Nathan Beaulieu (illness) missed his fifth straight game and C Jacob Josefson (ankle) sat out his eighth in a row. . It was the first of three meetings between the clubs. Buffalo hosts the Flyers on Dec. 22 before coming back to Philadelphia on Jan. 7. . Philadelphia has won all five games during the streak in regulation, something they hadn't done since Oct. 26-Nov. 11, 2010. . Flyers LW Michael Raffl recorded an assist, extending his point streak to five contests, while playing in his 300th career game.

UP NEXT

Sabres: Host Carolina on Friday night.

Flyers: Host Dallas on Saturday night.