Sabres Stun Flyers 5-3

Published on March 5th, 2011

by Mike del Tufo

Saturday, March 5, 2011
The Buffalo Sabres overcame a 2-goal deficit and defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 5-3 in an afternoon game at the Wells Fargo Center.  This was the 3rd of 4 meetings between the Flyers and the Sabres this season.  The Flyers won the first 2 times.  They play for the last time April 8th in Buffalo.  For this game, Ryan Miller started in net for the Sabres and Sergei Bobrovsky for the Flyers.

Flyers forward combinations:
Richards-Versteeg- Zherdev

Flyers defensemen pairings:

The Flyers took some bad penalties in the first half of the 1st period.  They faced a 5-on-3 for 1:10 but were able to kill it off.  Captain Mike Richards was particularly effective on this penalty-kill.  This kill helped fire up the crowd as well as the team and soon after they were able to draw a penalty.  Winger Kris Versteeg continued where he left off from last game scoring at 12:44 while the Flyers were on this power-play.  The Flyers then made it 2-0 at 17:22 on a great individual effort by James van Riemsdyk who finished with a backhand.

The Sabres got on the board at 6:52 of the 2nd period when Drew Stafford took a pass in the slot from Thomas Vanek and knocked it past Bobrovsky.  It was just after a Sabre power-play ended.  The Sabres tied it at 8:48 in an innocent-looking play that ended with Tyler Ennis sneaking in a shot as Flyers defenseman Sean O’Donnell checked Patrick Kaleta into Bob’s way.  Then at 10:32, Buffalo defenseman Andrej Sekera grabbed a loose puck and put it into an empty net to give the Sabres a 3-2 lead.  Flyer head coach Peter Laviolette called a time-out to try and settle down his stunned team.  It worked.  The Flyers tied the game back up at 13:23 when defenseman Braydon Coburn stole the puck and fed Kimmo Timonen in front of the net who batted past Miller.  It was a short-handed goal.  Tyler Ennis had a breakaway at 17:15 but hit the goal post.  There was a lot of sloppy play from both teams in this period.  The referees seemed off their game as well as some of their calls and non-calls were poor.

The Sabres re-took the lead at 6:37 of the 3rd period when Jason Pominville tipped in a nice pass from Vanek.  At 18:56, the Sabres added an empty-net goal by Nathan Gerbe.  This was the 2nd home game in a row the Flyers went into the 3rd period tied and lost.

On the loss, Timonen said, “Well obviously we came out really hard.  I thought the first 20 minutes we played, probably the best 20 minutes we have played in the last 10 games.  It was looking good for us.  The last few games we took a period off here and there and it cost us a couple games.  In this league, you need to work 60 minutes to win games and we haven’t done that.”

The last two losses have been against desperate hockey teams like the Sabres and the Toronto Maple Leafs.  Both need wins to try and make the playoffs and have outplayed the Flyers in terms of intensity. 

Regarding that, Timonen said, “These teams have to win every game to make the playoffs and obviously we are already in.  I’m sure that it is some of it, but it shouldn’t matter to us.  Every game for us is a different game.  We shouldn’t have to worry about who we play against.  We should win these games and we haven’t been able to do that.”

Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger agreed.  “We’re playing teams that are battling for their lives, and they are going to be desperate and play with a lot of determination and desire, and we have to match that if we want to win hockey games.”

The Flyers now have a 3-game losing streak.  Their next game is in New York vs. the Rangers on Sunday March 6th.

Kris Versteeg has scored 3 goals in the last 2 games

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