Flyers Force Game 7 Tuesday

Published on April 24th, 2011

Stanley Cup Playoffs (1st Round):  Game 6 – Flyers 5 Sabres 4 OT

by Mike del Tufo

Sunday, April 24, 2011
The Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Buffalo Sabres 5-4 in overtime in Game 6.  The Flyers, who staved off elimination and forced a decisive Game 7, came back from 2-0 and 3-1 deficits.  They did not have the lead until winger Ville Leino scored the OT game-winner.  The Flyers won 5 elimination games last season. 

In this game, Ryan Miller started in net for the Sabres and Michael Leighton for the Flyers.  Leighton was the 3rd goaltender to start for the Flyers in this series.  Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger returned to the line-up.  The Flyers dressed 7 defensemen and 11 forwards instead of the usual 6 and 12 to accommodate Pronger not being able to log his regular amount of ice-time on the blue-line. 

Flyers forward combinations:
Briere-Leino-Hartnell
Giroux-JVR-Zherdev
Richards-Versteeg
Betts-Powe-Carcillo

Flyers defensemen pairings:
Timonen-Coburn
Pronger-Carle
Meszaros-O’Donnell
Syvret

The physical play started early when at 1:21 into the 1st period, Flyers forward Scott Hartnell and Sabres center Paul Gaustad exchanged pleasantries and got matching roughing minors.  Sabres got an early 3-on-2 odd-man rush and cashed in when Rob Niedermayer beat Leighton at 2:13.  Miller made a nice save at 3:08 on a shot by Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn.  Dan Carcillo took a cross-checking minor at 7:50 to give the Sabres the 1st power-play of the game.  The Sabres wasted no time in going up 2-0 when Thomas Vanek tipped it past Leighton at 8:41.  Leighton looked very shaky on this goal.  The Flyers got their 1st power-play at 10:05 when Nathan Gerbe was called for holding the stick.  Their poor power-play was again ineffective despite the presence of Pronger.  It was 2 for 27 in this series after this.  Flyers Danny Briere knocked in a rebound at 14:53 to cut the Sabres’ lead in half.  The Sabres, however, got another power-play goal at 19:27 when Vanek slipped it through Leighton’s five-hole.  Sabres scored 3 goals on 8 shots in the 1st period.

Not surprisingly, Brian Boucher replaced Leighton in net for the 2nd period.  The Flyers’ best forward in this series, JVR scored 49 seconds into the 2nd period.  The Flyers were dominating the first part of the 2nd period.  At 8:43, Briere blasted a shot in while on the power-play to tie the game and stun the Buffalo crowd.  The Sabres turned the tide in the second half of this period and started getting scoring chances of their own.  At 13:57, the Sabres got a 5-on-3 power-play when Mike Richards took a boarding penalty.  Flyers winger Kris Versteeg had already taken a slashing minor at 13:06.  Boosh made some great saves during this.  They killed off these penalties but at 16:09 Nathan Gerbe split the defensemen and snapped it in to give the Sabres a 4-3 lead.  Flyers led in shots 31 to 26 after two periods of play. 

The Sabres got a 2-on-1 odd-man rush at 3:22 but Sabre Drew Stafford nailed the puck off of the goalpost.  The Flyers dodged a bullet there.  The Flyers got a power-play at 13:39 when Chris Butler took a holding penalty.  Hartnell scored at 10:43 to tie the game.  It was after the power-play expired and was Hartnell’s 1st goal of the playoffs.  The Flyers had a pair of prime scoring opportunities late in the 3rd but did not get a shot off on either as they seemed intent on making one too many passes.  They went to the end of regulation tied 4-4.

In overtime, Ville Leino claimed a loose rebound at the front of the net and knocked it in at 4:43 to win the game for the Flyers 5-4.

Game 7 is Tuesday at 7:30 pm in Philadelphia. 

Boosh fronted by Braydon Coburn and Sabre Paul Gaustad | Source: Andrew King

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