For the first time in days, several Flyers walked into the dressing room with smiles on their faces.

After the 3-0 shellacking a day before against the Boston Bruins, there was a sigh of relief. A hard-earned, 3-2 victory over the equally desperate Buffalo Sabres was exactly what the postgame meeting in Boston was about.

“We’re not out of the hole, but we took a step,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “Now we need to take more steps and continue down the road to get back to the playoffs.”

From the onset of the game, the Flyers played like they were shot out of a cannon. To put it simply, as goalie Ilya Bryzgalov did, the team knew what it was up against. Their opponents were winning, gaining points in the standings. They were not.

“We all can read and we all can count,” Bryzgalov said after making 18 saves on 20 shots in the win.

Resident wrecking ball Zac Rinaldo set the tone with a team-high five hits and drew multiple penalties. The physical play was costing the Flyers in recent games, sending them to the penalty kill. Sunday night, it helped win them the game.

“When you have the puck, I think that’s when the other team is going to take penalties,” Max Talbot, one of the Flyers’ goal scorers, said. “We saw what happened yesterday in Boston. … Tonight we kept it simple and put it in an area where we could recover it. We had the puck, so the other team had to take more penalties.”