Sabres reach playoffs with OT defeat of FlyersApr 9, 2011 - 3:54 AM
Vanek carried the puck through the middle of the Flyers' defensive zone, split two defenders and scored on the backhand.
Nathan Gerbe tallied twice for the Sabres, who clinched a playoff berth by virtue of playing beyond regulation. With the win, Buffalo pulled even with idle Montreal for sixth in the East with 94 points.
"The way this team's played the last three months, it's pretty exciting here in the locker room," Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers said. "To finally clinch it in the 81st game right here at home, it definitely feels good."
Jhonas Enroth was pulled after allowing three goals on 19 shots in two periods. Ryan Miller picked up the win after stopping all eight shots he faced over the final 21-plus minutes.
Danny Briere, Scott Hartnell and Kris Versteeg scored for the Flyers, who continued their late-season freefall by losing their season-high fifth straight game.
"We're still in good position in that we control our destiny for second place in the conference and first in the division," Briere said. "But it's still frustrating (to keep losing)."
Sergei Bobrovsky allowed four goals on 29 shots. Philadelphia is now tied atop the Atlantic Division with Pittsburgh -- which beat the Islanders in a shootout. Both teams have 104 points and one game remaining.
Philly's OT defeat also means the Washington Capitals clinched the top seed in the conference.
"You have to have a short memory," said Flyers captain Mike Richards, whose team can finish second, third, or fourth depending on what else happens this weekend. "We did a lot of good things tonight. Obviously, we're disappointed we didn't get the win, but we put ourselves in a position to win one game at home and win the division."
Hartnell put the Flyers on the board with 9:36 left in the first period, taking a Briere feed in the slot and ripping his shot high and inside the left post.
Gerbe capitalized on a turnover and evened the score with a long shot just 25 seconds into the middle period, then Jason Pominville snuck behind the Philly defense and scored on the forehand at 4:19.
Versteeg's goal from the left wing off a 2-on-1 short-handed rush tied the game at 7:37, and 39 seconds later Hartnell fed Briere for a left-wing laser to put the Flyers ahead.
Bobrovsky stoned Pominville in the final seconds of the second to keep it a one-goal game.
Miller was in the net to start the third period, and an inspired Gerbe tallied just after the midway point when his spinning backhanded shot sailed through traffic and under the crossbar.
"I want to be a guy who scores big goals, and for me to do that is pretty special," the diminutive Gerbe said of his slick move. "I thought it was going to hit the bar and go out, so I was kind of just praying that it would hit and go in."
Philadelphia hosts the New York Islanders on Saturday...Buffalo hosts Columbus also on Saturday...Briere set a new career high in goals with 33, eclipsing his previous high of 32 in 2001-02 with Phoenix and 2006-07 with Buffalo...The clubs split a four-game season series as each team won once at home and once on the road...Gerbe posted his third multi-goal effort of the season.
- PHILADELPHIA: 3
Final - OT
Apr 8 10:01 PM
- Buffalo Goal - Thomas Vanek (32), at 1:16.
Flyers 3, Sabres 4 OT - 3:44Apr 8 10:00 PM
- PHILADELPHIA: 3
End of Regulation
Apr 8 9:57 PM
- Buffalo Goal - Nathan Gerbe (16), from Thomas Vanek and Steve Montador at 10:03.
Flyers 3, Sabres 3 3rd - 9:57Apr 8 9:42 PM
- PHILADELPHIA: 3
End of 2nd
Apr 8 9:09 PM
- Philadelphia Goal - Danny Briere (33), from Scott Hartnell at 8:16.
Flyers 3, Sabres 2 2nd - 11:44Apr 8 8:48 PM
- Philadelphia Short-Handed Goal at 7:37.
Flyers 2, Sabres 2 2nd - 12:23Apr 8 8:46 PM
- Kimmo Timonen shot blocked by Tim Connolly.
Flyers 1, Sabres 2 2nd - 12:46Apr 8 8:46 PM
- Buffalo Goal - Nathan Gerbe (15), at :25.
Flyers 1, Sabres 1 2nd - 19:35Apr 8 8:34 PM
- PHILADELPHIA: 1
End of 1st
Apr 8 8:16 PM
- Philadelphia Goal - Scott Hartnell (22), from Danny Briere and Sean O'Donnell at 10:24.
Flyers 1, Sabres 0 1st - 9:36Apr 8 7:58 PM
- PHILADELPHIA: 0
1st Period - 20:00
Apr 8 7:42 PM
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