The Philadelphia Flyers claim the momentum from their run to the Stanley Cup finals has carried over into an excellent first half of the season.
The Buffalo Sabres are just trying to parlay their recent success into a winning second half.
Atop the Eastern Conference at the season's midway point for the first time in 12 years, the Flyers begin a stretch of four road games in six days Tuesday night when they visit the surging Sabres.
Philadelphia (26-10-5) was seeded seventh in the East last postseason, but made it all the way to the Stanley Cup finals before falling in six games to Chicago.
The Flyers are on pace for a higher seed this spring, leading the East at the halfway mark of their schedule for the first time since 1998-99.
"We've just carried over what we did last year in the playoffs," goaltender Brian Boucher said. "Our goal this year was to put ourselves in better position come spring time. We've done a good job thus far, but there's still a lot of work to do."
Philadelphia is 11-3-1 in its last 15 games, capping the first half of its season with a 2-1 win over New Jersey on Saturday to sweep a home-and home set.
Goaltending has been a major reason for the Flyers' strong first half.
Boucher is 9-1-1 with a 1.98 goals-against average in his last 12 games, and stopped 52 of 55 shots in the victories over the Devils.
Rookie Sergei Bobrovsky is 15-6-3 with a 2.57 GAA, including a 32-save performance in a 6-3 win over Buffalo (18-18-5) on Oct. 26. He hasn't been very sharp recently, though, going 1-2-1 with a 4.28 GAA in his last five games -- four starts.
That could mean a fourth consecutive start for Boucher, who has beaten the Sabres two straight times but hasn't faced them since a shootout win with Phoenix on Jan. 12, 2006.
The Flyers lost 3-2 in overtime at Buffalo on March 5, ending their four-game winning streak there.
The Sabres are 4-0-1 in their last five games, matching their win total from the previous 10 (4-5-1).
"I think if you looked at it 15 games ago and said if you could get (to .500) by 40 (games) you'd be happy," coach Lindy Ruff told the team's official website. "Right now we're happy that we've gotten to that (.500) mark. Our focus now is to just keep pushing ahead."
Drew Stafford has four goals and three assists over the last four games. The right wing came up big again Saturday, finding the net with 1:48 remaining in overtime to clinch a 2-1 win at Phoenix.
Stafford has 14 goals on the season, matching his total from all of 2009-10. He has one goal and one assist in six home meetings with the Flyers.
Philadelphia's trip continues with stops in Boston and Atlanta before concluding Sunday at the New York Rangers.
AccuScore has powered more than 10,000 simulations for every NHL game on ESPN.com, calculating how each team's performance changes in response to game conditions and opponent's abilities. Each game is simulated and the game is replayed a minimum of 10,000 times to generate forecasted winning percentages.