Final - OT
  for this game

Sabres try to end series against visiting Flyers

Apr 24, 2011 - 2:55 PM
(Sports Network) - The seventh-seeded Buffalo Sabres will try to earn a place in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs when they host the Philadelphia Flyers in today's Game 6 battle at HSBC Arena.

The Sabres grabbed a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series with a thrilling overtime victory Friday night in Philadelphia. Buffalo coughed up a 3-0 lead in Game 5 to allow the test to go to OT, but Tyler Ennis scored his second goal of the game 5:31 into the extra session to give the Sabres the 4-3 decision.

Buffalo is trying to get past the first round for the first time since it went to the conference finals for the second straight season in 2007. Current Philadelphia forward Danny Briere was co-captain of the Sabres back in '07 and he scored the game-tying goal against his former club on Friday.

The Flyers fell behind 3-0 in the first period on Friday and the blame for that falls mainly on the shoulders of starting goaltender Brian Boucher, who yielded a couple of fluky goals and was pulled from the game in the first period in favor of Michael Leighton. Boucher stopped just 8-of-11 shots.

Philadelphia has used three goaltenders in the first five games of this series. Sergei Bobrovsky started the first two tests, but the rookie hasn't seen action since being yanked in Game 2. In fact, Bobrovsky has been scratched in the last two tests, while Leighton serves as the backup.

It's unclear who will get the start for Philadelphia today, but it would seem Leighton has the inside track after stopping 20-of-21 shots Friday in relief of Boucher.

The only Buffalo shot Leighton didn't stop was Ennis' game-winner early in OT. A blast from the left point by Mike Weber was turned aside by Leighton, but the pad save saw the puck go out to the right side and Ennis buried it for the win.

Ennis recorded the first goal of the game while Marc-Andre Gragnani and Thomas Vanek also scored for Buffalo.

Unlike Philadelphia's trio of netminders, Ryan Miller has been terrific in this series and stopped 36-of-39 shots in the Game 5 win.

"I thought we re-established our game pretty well in the third period and carried it forward into overtime," said Miller of his team's ability to rebound after blowing the 3-0 lead. "When you get a rebound anything can happen and we got the bounce. It was a good to establish a game and then re- establish. I was proud of the way we handled it."

Miller has recorded two shutouts in this series and has logged a .933 save percentage by stopping 154-of-165 shots sent his way.

Buffalo's goaltender will try to anchor his team to one more win today, or the Sabres will be forced to travel back to Philly for a Game 7 on Tuesday.

Buffalo was 21-16-4 as the host this year and split Games 3 and 4 on its home ice. Philadelphia set a franchise record with 25 road wins this year and ended the season with a 25-11-5 mark as the guest.

Andrej Meszaros had a goal and an assist while Briere and James van Riemsdyk lit the lamp for the Flyers, who got two assists from Claude Giroux. Philadelphia also failed to score on any of its five opportunities with the man advantage on Friday and is just 2-for-26 in the series on the power play.

"I don't know, I felt good about our game," said Briere. "We deserved to win that once again. The chances were lopsided. Bad start spotting them a three- goal lead. It was just a rough start, something we need to improve on. We can't hang our heads. We were in a worse position than that last year, so if there is a group of guys who can do it, I believe in this group of guys here."

Of course, the Flyers proved last spring that no comeback is too difficult when they became the third team in NHL history to overcome a 3-0 deficit to win a series. Philly pulled off that rally against Boston in the conference semis and made it to the Stanley Cup Finals before falling to Chicago.

"I can look around the room at my teammates that were there and have proven they can rise when the desperation is needed," said Briere.

The Flyers are 2-14 all-time in series that they have trailed three-games-to- two. Outside of last year's comeback against the Bruins, the only other time the Flyers came back to win a series in this situation was in the 1989 Patrick Division finals against Pittsburgh.

Buffalo is 5-1 all-time when it leads a series by a 3-2 margin. The Sabres have a 2-0 series record when holding a three-games-to-two lead over the Flyers.

Both the Sabres and Flyers enter today with injuries to key players.

Philadelphia's top defenseman Chris Pronger has sat out the entire series while recovering from surgery to his right hand. Pronger was a game-time decision on Friday and could play today.

Meanwhile, Flyers forward Jeff Carter is expected to miss his second straight game with a sprained MCL in his right knee. Carter led the Flyers with 36 goals this season.

Philadelphia forward Andreas Nodl has sat out the last three tests with a cut around his eye and is questionable for today.

The Sabres lost forward Jason Pominville to a lower body injury in Game 5 and he will this afternoon's contest. Pominville is second on Buffalo in this series with four points (1 goal, 3 assists).

Buffalo forward Derek Roy is said to be nearing a return from a torn left quadriceps tendon that has kept him out of action since late December, but he is not expected to play today.