Rookie Sean Couturier and James van Riemsdyk scored 13 seconds apart early in the first period and Ilya Bryzgalov turned aside 29 shots as the Philadelphia Flyers skated to a 3-2 road triumph over the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday.
Scott Hartnell netted his fifth goal in as many contests and Claude Giroux secured his 16th point with an assist for Philadelphia, which faced the Sabres for the first time since ousting them in seven games in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals last season.
Buffalo saw leading goal-scorer Thomas Vanek leave the game midway through the second period with a laceration near his right eye. Vanek, who has eight goals and eight assists this season, returned midway through the third and assisted on rookie Luke Adam's goal which trimmed the Flyers' lead to 3-2.
Vanek had an opportunity to tie the game with 10 seconds remaining, but Bryzgalov denied him on the doorstep.
Philadelphia put the pressure on early and opened the scoring just 1:43 into the first period.
Although Ryan Miller denied Andreas Lilja's initial shot, Couturier cleaned up the juicy rebound and wired it into the open net for his third goal of the season.
Immediately after the ensuing faceoff, Philadelphia took advantage of a center-ice turnover and van Riemsdyk wristed a shot from the left faceoff circle over the left shoulder of Miller for his third goal in as many games.
Hartnell ended Miller's night just 6:23 into the first period after unleashing a blast from the left faceoff circle which found the top corner. Hartnell has five goals and five assists in his last five contests.