Series Tied 3-3
Game 1: Sabres â€“ 1 Flyers â€“ 0
Game 2: Sabres â€“ 4 Flyers â€“ 5
Game 3: Flyers â€“ 4 Sabres â€“ 2
Game 4: Flyers – 0 Sabres – 1
Game 5: Sabres – 4 Flyers – 3 OT
Game 6: Flyers – 5 Sabres – 4
Game 7: Sabres at Flyers April 26th Time TBD
As my friend TJ so eloquently put it, â€œClearly we are going to win the series in 7 games, for Rick Martin,â€ however 6 games would have been much less nerve-wracking.Â Ville Leino decided to silence the sellout crowd of 18,690 inside HSBC Arena, as well as the 6,000+ that were watching in the plaza, at 4:43 of OT.Â To say this was a typical Buffalo Sabres game is the understatement of the century at this point.Â They came out guns a-blazing in the first, scored 3 goals, 2 of which were on the power play, and chased Michael Leighton out of the net.Â Then came the dreaded second period.Â Nathan Gerbe, Ryan Miller and the two Tylerâ€™sÂ (at times) were the only oneâ€™s that should have even bothered coming out of the locker room.Â Gerbe was starting to look like the hero after he scored on a wrist shot late in the second period, but Scott Hartnell ruined the party when he tied the game mid-way through the 3rd.Â If a hockey game could be won in a period, the Sabres would have won in the first, as many of the Sabres faithful thought and were hoping was going to be the case, but a lackadaisical second period and a poor defensive third period led us to the road of Game 7.
For the most part, the Sabres looked sloppy and disorganized, but they had their moments.Â They spent more time in their own zone than anyone would have been comfortable with and certainly got lucky on all 4 of their goals, but itâ€™s the playoffs and garbage goals win games, however in this case not so much.Â Â The Sabres were not very physical after the first period and allowed the Flyers to park themselves right in front of Miller without much resistance.
Another mistake they made was allowing Danny Briere, ughhhh, to circle around the net and score not once, but twice, the second tying the game on the power play in the second.Â Iâ€™d be less inclined to be upset about this if it were ANYONE OTHER THAN BRIERE.Â He played for the Sabres for how long, you really donâ€™t know what heâ€™s going to do to you if you let him float around the net, REALLY SABRES?!?! To say I hate him is an understatement and it always seems to be Briere.
Iâ€™m going to take a page out of the Flyers (cough Mike Richards) book and complain about the officiating on both sides, which personally, I thought was horrendous.Â 12 penalties in total (6 for each team), probably 7-8 of which were actually warranted.Â The one I had the biggest issue with was Mike Richardsâ€™ boarding penalty at 13:57 of the second, you are really only going to give him 2 minutes, really?Â Even after he not only got a 5 minutes elbowing penalty earlier in the series, but then purposely drives a player, who has a SERIOUS issue with concussions, head first into the boards?Â Oh thatâ€™s totally cool now, oh alright well then perhaps someone should drive Mike Richardsâ€™ head into the boards and see how he likes it, maybe we can sign David Booth for a game and let him do it.Â (Sorry rant over, back to the game)
Chris Pronger also made his series debut, playing a whopping 4:43 of ice time.Â To me, it was laughable that people were so worried about him playing, my own father being one of them, simply because its clear he isnâ€™t 100%.Â Â Pronger dressed to â€œquarterbackâ€ the power play as best he could, not being able to actually use his cannon of a shot from the point.Â Not to take anything away from him (because as much as it pains me to say it, heâ€™s a great defenseman), but itâ€™s clear he isnâ€™t ready to play, so is it really worth dressing him to play 5 minutes? Â Iâ€™m no coach, but I would say no, especially when you are dressing 7 defensemen and 3 of them are playing under 10 minutes total.
However, I digress.Â Hopefully the Sabres will go into Philly playing the entire game with the hunger that the Flyers had in this game.Â Hopefully Tim Connolly isnâ€™t seriously injured and will be able to play.Â Hopefully the defense will actually show up in front of Ryan Miller.Â The Sabres can only get lucky goals for so long, at some point they are going to have to bear down and be the quick, skilled team they are, hopefully that will be Tuesday at the Wells Fargo Center.
1st STAR â€“ Ville Leino (GWG, 2 shots on goal)
2nd STAR â€“ Daniel Briere (2 goals, 6 shots on goal)
3rd STAR â€“ Thomas Vanek (2 goals, 3 shots on goal)
Marc-Andre Gragnani continues to shine for the Sabres, registering 2 more assists tonight, bringing his playoff point total to 7 (1 goal, 6 assists).
Tyler Myers picked up 3 more assists and continued his physical play, punching Pronger in the face and absolutely destroying Kris Versteeg.
The revolving door of Flyers goaltenders continued, this time with Brian Boucher replacing Michael Leighton after the first period.
Compliments of Mike Richards, the injury bug continues to bite the Sabres, with Tim Connolly leaving the game in the second after being driven headfirst into the boards.Â The team listed him as having an upper body injury, he did not return to the game.
Chris Pronger returned for the Flyers, making his series debut, with 4:43 of ice time, registering one shot on goal and 2 penalty minutes.
Jeff Carter missed his second straight game with what has been reported as a sprained MCL.Â The injury was suffered in a knee-on-knee collision with Tyler Myers in Game 4.