PHILADELPHIA - Carter Hart is in such a rut in net for the Flyers, he almost lost to the worst team in the NHL.
"I’m not playing well," Hart said. "I know it, everyone knows it."
Benched before Buffalo's lead got of control, the promising goalie was bailed out when Philadelphia rallied.
Shayne Gostisbehere tied the game late in regulation, Sean Couturier and Nolan Patrick scored shootout goals, and the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-4 on Tuesday night.
The NHL-worst Buffalo Sabres lost their eighth straight game (0-7-1).
The Flyers rallied from a 3-1 hole to avoid their first three-game losing streak of the season. Gostisbehere ripped one on the power play from the point on one knee past Jonas Johansson with 5:46 left in the third to make it 4-all.
"When you're in a groove, you're in a groove," Gostisbehere said. "I'm seeing the plays before you get the puck and I'm making them without hesitation."
The Sabres lost without Jack Eichel. Buffalo's captain is out at least one week with an unspecified injury, though he favored his neck after being checked into the end boards over the weekend. With a league-low six wins, Buffalo is in jeopardy of extending its playoff drought to an NHL-record matching 10th season.
The Sabres last won Feb. 23 against New Jersey.
Sam Reinhart scored twice for the Sabres. Riley Sheahan and Brandon Montour also scored goals.
"We’re not at the point we’re taking moral victories from being close in games right now. That’s just the sad reality of it," Reinhartt said.
James van Riemsdyk, Kevin Hayes and Claude Giroux all scored for the Flyers.
Philadelphia shut out the Sabres in three straight games this season by a combined 9-0 total but needed time to get rolling in this one.
The Flyers jumped on Johansson only 1:56 into the game on van Riemsdyk's 11th goal of the season.
Reinhart scored goals No. 9 and 10 on the season and Sheahan added his third to end the first period up 3-1 and chase Hart. The goalie allowed three goals on just eight shots and was pulled for Brian Elliott.
The 22-year-old Hart, widely hailed as the Flyers' franchise goalie, had allowed eight goals in his last two starts.
"I didn’t play well and the boys needed a spark," he said.
Hart was pulled from a start for the third time this season.
Flyers coach Alain Vigneault said Hart hasn't been "good enough" for a team expected to make a run in the revamped East Division.
"I believe he’s got to battle a little harder in goal at this time," Vigneault said. "He'll try and get his game where it needs to be."
Hayes backhanded in his ninth goal to close within one, but Montour pushed back for the Sabres with his first of the year.
Giroux punched in his fourth goal from close range with 4:53 left in the second period.
The Sabres lost at home 3-0 to the Flyers on consecutive days last month. This loss was closer — but still an L.
"There’s no real point to speak about the good things that happened that got us there because we didn’t close the deal," Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said.
The Sabres are missing starting goalie Linus Ullmark, who is at least two weeks away from returning from a lower body injury. Buffalo’s blue line has also been depleted with Jake McCabe out with a season-ending right knee injury, and Will Borgen expected to miss another month with a broken forearm.
The Sabres are also hampered by a constricted schedule as a result of the team’s season being placed on pause for a two-week stretch last month following a COVID-19 outbreak that affected nine players, plus Krueger. Buffalo’s game against Philadelphia was its 14th in 23 days.
The Sabres recalled D Henri Jokiharju from the taxi squad. Defenseman Brandon Davidson was loaned to the taxi squad.
Krueger placed the emphasis on focusing on facing the Flyers and not the bigger picture.
"This is all about attitude right now," Krueger said. "We’ve had a lot of adversity to deal with, but we’re dealing with it in the same way we have with good times, as we continue to push for growth, we continue to push for an attitude that moves us forward, and we continue to push for working on these solutions together."
The Sabres host the Penguins on Thursday and Saturday.
The Flyers host Washington on Thursday.
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