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Flyers dominate Sabres in Game 7

Apr 27, 2011 - 6:04 AM Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Danny Briere posted a goal and one assist, while Brian Boucher stopped 26 shots as the Philadelphia Flyers posted a 5-2 victory over Buffalo in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.

"I think that our experience really showed. It's not a secret, we have played a lot of big games in the last year with mostly the same group," Briere said of the Flyers' grace under pressure.

Braydon Coburn, James van Riemsdyk and Ville Leino also tallied for the Flyers, who advanced to the second round for the third time in four seasons by winning their third straight seventh game.

The other two were nail-biters by comparison, a 3-2 overtime win at Washington three years ago and a memorable 4-3 victory at Boston last May which completed an historic comeback from an 0-3 series deficit.

Claude Giroux notched a pair of assists as Philadelphia won its first home Game 7 since a 2003 East quarterfinal against Toronto.

Boucher, whose only previous Game 7 start was a heartbreaking 2-1 Philly loss to New Jersey in the 2000 Eastern Conference finals, restored the confidence of head coach Peter Laviolette after he was not selected to start Sunday's Game 6 in favor of Michael Leighton.

The 34-year-old Boucher made 24 saves on 25 shots in that 5-4 overtime win in relief of Leighton, and just allowed two third-period scores in Tuesday's series-clinching decision.

"You can see that during off days and during game days. He wants it so bad that he motivates us too," Giroux said of Boucher. "He's been great, just in practice he's been working so hard. He wants to get better, and he wants to help the team. Tonight he was one of the reasons why we won."

Tyler Myers and Brad Boyes scored for the Sabres, who have not won a playoff round since reaching the East finals in 2007.

Ryan Miller, who posted two shutouts in the set, was pulled after allowing four goals on 28 shots in just under 42 minutes. Jhonas Enroth finished the game with seven stops.

"Yeah, just a lot of disappointment right now," said Miller when asked to gauge his team's mood. "We didn't get off to the start we wanted to, that's what happens when you don't step on a team?s throat when you have a chance. We had our opportunity to end this series and we didn't do it and they came back."

It was 2-0 for Philly on a power play at 4:45 of the second period. Briere won a right-circle draw ahead to Giroux, who pushed the puck back to Mike Richards. His right-point shot hit Briere in front, and the former Sabre tipped it into an open net.

It was Briere's sixth goal of the series -- tops among all players on both clubs. The Quebec native has 94 points in 93 career playoff games.

Just after the midway point of the second, the Flyers took a three-goal edge on another advantage, when Giroux's shot from the boards along the left wing was tipped in front by van Riemsdyk and beat Miller high to the far side.

Boucher wasn't tested until 1:15 remained in the second, when he stuck his pad to the left post to deny two Drew Stafford shots in succession.

Leino's rocket shot from the left circle less than two minutes into the third zipped over Miller's shoulder for a 4-0 game, and Enroth was summoned from the bench.

"He thought I did a good job in net and don't worry about it," said Miller of Buffalo head coach Lindy Ruff's words when he exited. "It was a pretty smart shot by Leino, he hesitated and crossed me up and it still wasn't a goal I want to give up."

Myers finally put the Sabres on the board at 6:33, but Dan Carcillo backhanded his own rebound home with 9:57 remaining.

A power-play score from Boyes pulled Buffalo within three at 15:21, and Enroth went to the bench for an extra skater in the final two minutes. The Flyers were able to maintain control until time expired thanks to two Buffalo penalties in the final minute.

The home team came out roaring from the drop of the puck, outshooting Buffalo 16-2 in the opening 20 minutes.

Miller somehow forced Giroux to hit the right post when the shifty winger was all alone in front in the early stages.

Richards put a turnover right into Miller's chest in the final minute, but the Sabres netminder let a Coburn point shot trickle through his pads with 18.2 seconds to go. Briere set up the score by winning a right-circle draw back to the rangy defenseman.

"That was huge in a game like this," van Riemsdyk said of his club's dominant first period. "We haven't had the best starts at home, and that was something that was really talked about, how important that was going to be, and I think we came out pretty strong."

Game Notes

Philadelphia improved to 9-6 all-time in Game 7s and upped its mark to 6-3 at home...Buffalo fell to 1-6 all-time in Game 7s, 0-5 on the road...Flyers forward Jeff Carter missed the game due to a sprained MCL in his right knee suffered earlier in the series, and forward Andreas Nodl was also a scratch with a facial injury suffered early in the set...The NHL announced earlier Tuesday that Ian Laperriere, who has not played this season for Philadelphia, was one of three finalists for the Masterton Trophy...The Sabres welcomed back forward Derek Roy after a four-month absence from quad surgery and forward Jochen Hecht from a concussion...Buffalo missed forwards Jason Pominville and Tim Connolly...Sabres forward Thomas Vanek ranked second among all players with five goals in the series.