Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series tied 2-2

Game 1: Tuesday, October 22nd
Game 2: Saturday, December 14th
Game 3: Tuesday, January 7th
Game 4: Tuesday, March 18th

Sabres 0

(7-16-1, 20 pts)

Flyers 2

(15-7-1, 37 pts)

7:00 PM ET, December 14, 2002

Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1 2 3 T
BUF 0 0 00
PHI 0 1 12

S. Gagne (Flyers - LW): Goals: 0, Assists: 0

R. Esche (Flyers - G): Saves: 15, Save Pct.: 1.000

M. Biron (Sabres - G): Saves: 31, Save Pct.: .939

Flyers' Esche makes 15 saves to shut out Sabres

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Robert Esche was not impressed with his first shutout as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers.

Robert Esche

Esche stopped 15 shots, and Donald Brashear and Eric Desjardins scored as the Flyers beat the Buffalo Sabres 2-0 for their third straight win Saturday night.

"Actually I think I played the puck pretty bad today,'' said Esche, obtained last summer from Phoenix as part of the deal that sent Brian Boucher to the Coyotes. "I just stunk at it. At least I didn't let any in. That's all that matters.''

Esche was rarely tested. His best stop was a glove save on a shot from the right point by Dmitri Kalinin with 3:34 left. It was his fourth career shutout.

Esche said that at one point, during a Sabres' rush, "I looked like a newborn calf out there. I didn't know what I was doing.''

He added that his teammates don't get enough credit for their defense.

"They're by far one of the best in the NHL,'' Esche said. "It's not just the defensemen. It's the forwards knowing where to be coming back. It's fun playing behind them.''

Philadelphia center Jeremy Roenick said that Esche (4-1-2) has been impressive all season long as the backup to Roman Cechmanek.

"The kid hasn't had an off night,'' Roenick said. "He has come in and played with tremendous poise every single time he has been in the net.''

The Flyers pelted Martin Biron with 33 shots while holding the Sabres to their lowest shot total of the season. Biron came in with a 3-1-1 record and 1.78 goals-against average in his last five starts.

"The Flyers have some good offensive talent,'' Biron said. "A lot of times we were trying to get out of our zone and their forwards would do a good job coming back and getting the quick transition going.''

It was the Flyers' first home shutout since Cechmanek beat Tampa Bay 2-0 on Dec. 1, 2001.

Brashear put the Flyers ahead 1-0 with his second goal of the season and first in 24 games. He snapped a wrist shot high in the net from the left circle at 15:18 of the second period.

"It was a seeing-eye-dog shot that hit the top corner,'' Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said. "Brashear got it off right away. It was a heck of a shot.''

Desjardins scored at 14:05 of the third when he beat Biron with a shot from the point on a breakaway.

Game notes

Philadelphia is the only NHL team unbeaten when scoring first (12-0-5). ... Buffalo had won the last five games against the Flyers. ... Buffalo's Miroslav Satan had a five game point-scoring streak (5-6-11) snapped. ... The Flyers are 0-17 on the power play in their last four games. ... Buffalo has won only two of 14 road games (2-9-2-1). ... The Sabres have scored the fewest goals (63) in the Eastern Conference. ... Buffalo LW Jochen Hecht missed his third straight game with a head injury.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press