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

Published on April 15th, 2011

Bob was strong in net but Miller was even better

Sabres Blank Flyers 1-0

by Mike del Tufo

Thursday, April 14, 2011
The Buffalo Sabres playing a strong defensive game thwarted the Philadelphia Flyers and claimed an impressive 1-0 road victory.  This is the 9th playoff series between the two teams.  The winner of Game 1 has won the series the first 8 times. 

During the regular season, the Flyers and the Sabres met 4 times with the Flyers going 2-1-1.  The Sabres won the last time they played in overtime on April 8th in Buffalo.  Top Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger was out injured for this game.  Ryan Miller started in net for the Sabres and Sergei Bobrovsky for the Flyers.

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

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

The Wells Fargo Center was deafening to start the game.  Singer Lauren Hart did a duet of “God Bless America” with the late Kate Smith via video and it worked the crowd into a frenzy.  Tempers flared at 4:01 of the 1st period as the Flyers Mike Richards crashed the Sabres’ net.  He and Sabres defenseman Mike Weber drew coincidental roughing minors.  At 5;08, JVR hit the goalpost.  The Flyers got the 1st power-play of the game at 6:34 when forward Cody McCormick was called for interference.  They recorded no shots during the man-advantage.  There was a mad scramble in front of the Flyers’ net at 14:45.  The Sabres had some chances but the Flyers stood tall.  Flyers forward Kris Versteeg got an interference minor at 15:13 to give the Sabres their 1st power-play of the game.  The Sabres recorded one shot during this.  Then at 18:39, Sabres defenseman Steve Montador was called for holding.  The Flyers got 2 shots on this power-play before the period ended.  After one period of play, the teams were tied at 10 shots apiece. 

The Flyers had one more shot during the power-play that extended from the 1st period.  At 3:19 of the 2nd period, Flyers defenseman Danny Syvret made a tremendous defensive play to nullify a possible scoring chance for the Sabres.  The Flyers drew another penalty at 8:20 when Montador got called for tripping.  Then the Flyers got a 5-on-3 at 9:42 when Shaone Morrisonn was called for slashing.  The Sabres were impressive in killing this off weathering quite a storm especially towards the end of it.  At 16:38, JVR tried a stuffer but Miller said no.  At 19:13, Miller made a point-blank save on Jeff Carter.  After two, the Flyers led in shots 26 to 19.

The Sabres struck at 5:56 of the 3rd period when winger Patrick Kaleta banged in a rebound off of a shot by Marc-Andre Gragnani to take a 1-0 lead.  The Flyers had a good opportunity at around 9:30 but Miller was there for the save.  Miller was stellar for the Sabres.  The Flyers got a power-play at 11:03 when Tyler Myers got a tripping minor.  The Flyers continued to slump on the power-play not even getting a shot at this crucial time of the game.  At 18:33, Bob came off the ice for an extra attacker leaving an empty net for the Sabres to shot at.  The Flyers were still unable to beat Miller as the Sabres shut-out the Flyers 1-0.

Flyers Center Danny Briere on dropping Game 1 said, “Well, you have to give Ryan Miller a lot of credit.  He was good tonight.  We just have to do a better job around him and try to get to the rebounds.  I thought that maybe we let him see too many shots but it wasn’t a bad effort.  We controlled most of the play and we had the puck for the most part.  [Sergei Bobrovsky] was good.  Ryan [Miller] was even better.  There are going to be nights like that.  If we keep playing the way we did tonight then I think we’ll be in good shape at the end of the series.”

Game 2 is Saturday at 5pm in Philadelphia.  The odd time is due to the Phillies having a home game at 7pm that night.

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