PHILADELPHIA — The NHL's worst team is quite good when the game goes to a shootout.
Nicolas Deslauriers and Brian Gionta scored in regulation for Buffalo, which won for just the fourth time in the last 27 games. The Sabres improved to 7-2 in shootouts.
"We have some pretty good little shooters on our team," Buffalo coach Ted Nolan said. "We're not afraid to go into the shootouts, for sure."
Jakub Voracek and Ryan White scored for Philadelphia, which fell to 2-7 in the tiebreaker.
The Flyers carried a nine-game point streak into the opener of a four-game homestand on Tuesday against Columbus, but absorbed a disappointing loss to the Blue Jackets before earning a single point against the lowly Sabres, hurting their already slim playoff chances. Philadelphia began the day seven points behind Boston for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Coach Craig Berube was asked afterward if losing at home to the Sabres, who have an NHL-low 38 points, was "unacceptable."
"Unacceptable? I think our team competed," he said. "Anybody can lose to anybody in this league."
The Flyers' struggles in shootouts continued against Buffalo.
After Voracek tallied on Philadelphia's first shootout attempt, Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds and Sean Couturier came up empty. Ray Emery stopped Zemgus Girgensons and Tyler Ennis after Gionta scored in the tiebreaker. But Flynn deked past Emery to win it for Buffalo.
"I just tried to give a little bit of a fake, pull it to the backhand hard and fortunately he bit," Flynn said.
It was the sixth consecutive one-goal game for Buffalo, which had lost four straight.
"Over the last number of games I thought our effort has been there," Nolan said. "All one-goal games and to come on the better side of it is a good feeling."
Gionta gave Buffalo a 2-1 lead by scoring on a rebound just 38 seconds into the second period. It was the 500th career point for Gionta, making him the 49th American to reach the milestone.
"To see the way he leads and way he prepares himself and to see him get that goal tonight was nice to watch," Nolan said.
Voracek broke out of a goal-scoring slump with 11:15 left in the second, tying it at 2 with a power-play tally. Simmonds' shot from in close rebounded to Voracek, who fired it over Michal Neuvirth's glove.
Voracek had just one goal in his last 14 games, and it was an empty-netter. It was his first score against a goalie since Jan. 12.
The assist gave Simmonds a six-game point streak (four goals, four assists), tying a career high.
Buffalo had a goal disallowed with just over five minutes left in the third period when Girgensons shoveled the puck into the net with his hand.
Deslauriers opened the scoring 4:41 into the first. Flynn sent a pass to front of the net and Deslauriers partially fanned on the shot, but he got enough of it to get it past Emery, who couldn't corral the bouncing puck.
Philadelphia tied it 2 1/2 minutes later when White netted his first goal in his 10th game this season. Braydon Coburn took the initial shot and White hustled to the far post after Coburn's shot bounced off the boards and out in front of the crease, beating Neuvirth with a quick shot from right in front.
Neuvirth made 36 saves.
"For a young goaltender trying to establish himself as a No. 1, the difference makers, that's what you have to be," Nolan said. "And he was a difference maker tonight."
NOTES: The Flyers inducted former defenseman Eric Desjardins into the club's Hall of Fame in a pregame ceremony. ... Giroux's scoring drought reached 10 games. ... Buffalo snapped a five-game losing streak in Philadelphia, winning in the Flyers' building for the first time since March 5, 2011.