Game 5: Sabres Outlast Flyers 4-3 in OT

Published on April 22nd, 2011

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

by Mike del Tufo

Friday, April 22, 2011
The Buffalo Sabres defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 in overtime in Game 5.  The Flyers came back from a 3-0 deficit to force overtime but could not pull it out in the extra session. 

In this game, Ryan Miller started in net for the Sabres and Brian Boucher for the Flyers.  Flyers forward Jeff Carter and defenseman Chris Pronger missed the game due to injury. Zac Rinaldo and Danny Syvret were inserted into the line-up in their place.

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

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

The Flyers came out full of intensity hitting every Sabre they saw.  Flyers goalie Brian Boucher, however, had a very shaky start.  Sabres Tyler Ennis put a weak one past him at 2:24 of 1st period.  It was the Sabres’ 1st shot on net.  Then at 3:51, Sabres forward Thomas Vanek banked one off him and in at 3:51.  It was another bad goal.  The Flyers got their 1st power-play at 11:43 when Steve Montador was called for high-sticking.  They recorded three shots but really needed a goal at this point of the game.  The Sabres then converted on a power-play of their own when defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani scored at 15:36 to give them a 3-0 lead.  Michael Leighton then came in to replace Boosh in net.  It was easily the worst period of the playoffs for the Flyers.

The Flyers had some great chances early in the 2nd period to get back into the game.  At 2:39 of the 2nd period, Sabre Paul Gaustad was called for holding.  Then at 4:30, the Sabres took another penalty when Rob Niedermayer was called for delay-of-game.  The Flyers had just 9 seconds of 5-on-3 power-play time where the penalties overlapped.  They were unable to convert on either of these power-plays though.  A total of 5 shots but they were unable to get a much needed goal.  The Flyers got on the board at 8:12 when JVR back-handed one past Miller.  9 minutes into the 2nd period and shots were 9-0 Flyers in this period.  Then Flyer defenseman Andrej Meszaros slapped one past Miller at 9:57 to bring the Flyers within one goal.  The Wells Fargo Center was rocking.  After two periods of play, the Flyers led in shots 24 to 18.   

The Flyers continued to ride the momentum when they tied the game at 3:36 of the 3rd period.  Forward Danny Briere back-handed it in off of a nice pass from Mike Richards.  The Flyers took a penalty at 7:36 when Briere was called for interference.  It was a strong penalty-kill by the home team.  Late in the 3rd period at 17:38 with the score tied, the Flyers got a big power-play when Sabre Jordan Leopold was called for hooking.  Early in the man-advantage, Flyers winger Claude Giroux split the defenseman and got a good look but was denied by Miller.  They were unable to convert and the teams went to sudden-death overtime.  One statistic that stood out through regulation:  Mike Richards had only won 28.6% of his face-offs. 

In overtime, Sabre forward Tyler Ennis scored at 5:31 off of a rebound to give the Sabres a 4-3 win.  The Sabres took a 3-2 series lead.

Game 6 is Easter Sunday at 3 pm in Buffalo.

Flyer Mike Richards being trailed by Sabre Jason Pominville | Source: Andrew King

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