Game 3: Flyers Double Up Sabres 4-2

Published on April 18th, 2011

Stanley Cup Playoffs (1st Round):  Sabres vs. Flyers – Game 3

by Mike del Tufo

Monday, April 18, 2011
The Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Buffalo Sabres 4-2 in a pivotal Game 3.  The Flyers got goals from 4 different players to take a 2-1 series lead.  Ryan Miller started in net for the Sabres and Brian Boucher for the Flyers.  Boucher after a strong performance in Game 2 took over the starting goaltending role for the Flyers.  Forward Nikolay Zherdev was inserted into the line-up for the first time of the series and scored a big goal.

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

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

The Flyers, who had been road warriors most of the season, came out strong and seemed up to the challenge of this huge game in Buffalo.  The rough play started early in the 1st period in front of the Sabres’ net.  Patrick Kaleta of the Sabres took the lone penalty, a roughing call at 3:40.  The Flyers took advantage of this when slumping forward Jeff Carter tallied to give the Flyers an early 1-0 lead at 4:42.  It was Carter’s first point of the series.  At around 8:30, Flyers Scott Hartnell took a huge hit from Sabres Mike Grier.  Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn took an interference penalty at 11:17.  The Sabres matched the Flyers’ power-play goal at 11:55 when Drew Stafford beat Boucher.  Hartnell took a bad double-minor at 16:39.  One minor was for delay-of-game and the other for interference.  Flyers’ penalty-killing was stellar killing most of this penalty off before the period expired.  The Flyers were skating and playing hard at both ends of the ice in this period.  Bouch was very sharp in net.

The Flyers killed off the rest of the double-minor to start the 2nd period.  The Flyers grabbed some momentum from that.  Former Sabre Danny Briere continued his strong play against his old team and fired one past Miller at 2:44 to give the Flyers a 2-1 lead.  At 13:32, defenseman Tyler Myers of the Sabres got the gate for cross-checking.  The Flyers failed to convert.  They did score not that long after though when Zherdev smacked it in on a nice feed from Flyers’ captain Mike Richards at 16:44 to take a 3-1 lead.  The Sabres came right back and scored at 18:12 when Nathan Gerbe beat Boosh. 

41 seconds into the 3rd period, Sabre Paul Gaustad was called for interference.  The Flyers made little of this opportunity.  Then at 2:24, Timonen was called for holding which ended the Flyers’ power-play.  After a little 4-on-4 time, the Sabres got a power-play of their own.  They applied a lot of pressure on Boosh but could not get the equalizing goal.  The Flyers went on the penalty-kill again at 6:14 when Zherdev got a slashing minor.  Then Flyer Darroll Powe took a charging minor at 6:59 to give the Sabres a 5-on-3.  The Flyers killed both off however.  Boosh took one shot off of his mask during this.  They dodged a huge bullet thanks to their strong penalty-killing.  Miller went off for an extra Sabre attacker at 18:44.  Timonen shot it into the empty net at 19:42 to seal the win.  Flyers lead the series 2 to 1.

Game 4 is Monday at 7:30 pm in Buffalo. 

Claude Giroux with the puck working against Sabres Paul Gaustad | Source: Andrew King

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