Buffalo, NY (Sports Network) – Claude Giroux scored with 2:23 remaining in overtime to send Philadelphia past Buffalo, 5-4.
Giroux was able to gain control of the puck inside his own zone thanks to an errant cross-ice pass from Buffalo defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani and was allowed space up the middle of the ice. He broke free and cruised to the Sabres goal, beating Ryan Miller through the pads to end the game.
It capped a four-point contest for the 23-year-old, who helped Philadelphia recover from a 3-0 deficit in the first period and vaulted into the NHL scoring lead.
In 26 games, Giroux has amassed 16 goals and 36 points — one ahead of idle Phil Kessel of Toronto.
Jaromir Jagr, Scott Hartnell, Matt Read and Max Talbot also tallied for the Flyers, winners of three straight and five of six.
Ilya Bryzgalov shook off a poor first period to make 20 saves in the win.
“I knew we were gonna have a tough time,” said Jagr. “You could see it, in 10 minutes we had no legs. But somehow we got it in.”
Thomas Vanek, Ville Leino, Drew Stafford and Zack Kassian lit the lamp for the Sabres, who have dropped six of eight. Miller made 29 stops in defeat.
Buffalo took a 1-0 lead while a man up just after the midway point of the first period, when former Flyer Leino finished off a three-way passing play with a tap-in to an open net.
Miller came up huge minutes later, poking the puck away from Jagr on his breakaway chance before the veteran could make a move.
Kassian then moved up the middle and ripped one home from between the circles with 1:05 left in the period, and it was 3-0 on a power play with 22.5 seconds to go after a Vanek shot slipped between Bryzgalov’s arm and body.
It was a similar situation last Friday, when Philly found itself down 3-0 in Anaheim before roaring back to take a 4-3 overtime decision.
The visitors salvaged some respect as Talbot swept in a Jakub Voracek pass from the right side just before time expired in the opening period.
“I think the key goal was obviously the last second of the first period,” said Jagr. “We just play our game and it gave us a little bit of confidence.”
The Flyers reduced their deficit to one at 5:17 of the second when Kimmo Timonen’s point drive was tipped by Read in the slot and the puck slithered its way through Miller and over the goal line.
Hartnell tied the game at 14:45 as his floater from the right circle deflected off Buffalo defenseman Christian Ehrhoff’s shin pad and sailed between Miller’s shoulder and the near post..
Jagr atoned for his earlier mistake with 2:12 to play in the second on a rising wrister at the bottom of the left circle for a 4-3 Philly lead.
“It’s a tough period to have it turn that sharp,” said Miller
Bryzgalov made a quick left pad stop in crease as Stafford attempted a turnaround shot with 3:40 to go, but the Sabres cashed in a short time later.
Miller was sent off for an extra attacker with 1:45 left and Stafford poked home a Jason Pominville feed for a 4-4 tie on the next offensive opportunity.
Giroux tied a season-high with three assists, and his four points also matched a season-best first accomplished in a 5-1 win over Carolina on October 29…Flyers forward James van Riemsdyk returned after a four-game absence due to an upper-body injury…Wednesday was Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette’s 47th birthday and forward Sean Couturier turned 19…Philadelphia improved to 10-3-1 on the road this season and has taken seven of the last nine meetings in Buffalo since February of 2008…Sabres forward Nathan Gerbe left the game and did not return after absorbing a check from Flyers defenseman Marc-Andre Bourdon…The victory marked the third time in Flyers history the club has rallied from three-goal deficits to win twice in one season, with the others coming in 1979-80 and 1991-92.