Final - OT
  for this game

Flyers top Sabres in OT, force Game 7 at home

Apr 25, 2011 - 12:53 AM
Buffalo, NY (Sports Network) - Ville Leino shoved in a loose puck 4:43 into overtime, lifting the Flyers to a 5-4 victory over the Sabres and sending their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series to a Game 7.

Danny Briere scored twice for Philadelphia, which had dropped the last two games of the set. But the Flyers now have an opportunity to win it at home on Tuesday thanks to Leino's opportunistic play.

Kris Versteeg's second shot from the high slot appeared to hit teammate Mike Richards, who stood on the left edge of the crease, and bounced to the right side.

Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller spotted the puck and dove to get his glove on it, but it was too far away by inches. Leino whiffed on his first attempt to get his stick on the puck as it settled to the ice, but connected on his second to give the Flyers the win.

"I'm tracking it to make sure it doesn't get through, and it goes right through a guy," Miller said. "That's overtime."

Scott Hartnell tallied the equalizer in the middle of the third period, while James van Riemsdyk also lit the lamp for the Flyers, who fell behind after Michael Leighton gave up three goals on eight shots in the first period.

Brian Boucher stopped 24-of-25 shots the rest of the way, but the performances only kept Philadelphia's postseason goaltending carousel spinning.

The Flyers have used three netminders during this series -- Sergei Bobrovsky, Boucher and Leighton.

Boucher was between the pipes for all of Games 3 and 4, but was replaced by Leighton after allowing three goals early in Game 5, which Buffalo won in overtime. Leighton, the hero of Philadelphia's run to the Stanley Cup Finals last season, then got the start Sunday.

Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette has decided to start Boucher in Game 7.

Meanwhile, Miller has played every minute at goaltender for the Sabres and faced 49 shots Sunday, stopping 44. Thomas Vanek had two goals in the loss, while Rob Niedermayer and Nathan Gerbe also scored.

Vanek netted both his goals during a strong first period for Buffalo.

Niedermayer lifted a shot from the right circle over Leighton's glove and into the upper right corner of the net only 2:13 into the game. Vanek scored on a power play at 8:41.

Briere's rebound score with about five minutes left got the Flyers on the board, but Buffalo went up 3-1 in the final minute. Vanek stuffed the puck between Leighton's pads during a 4-on-3.

But with Boucher in net, the Flyers came back in the second period. They got their second goal only 49 seconds in, just after a faceoff, when van Riemsdyk had a clear shooting lane in the slot and beat Miller with a slap shot.

Briere made it a 3-3 game at 8:43, when his blast from the upper inside edge of the right circle got through traffic. It was a rare power-play goal for Philadelphia, which was 2-for-26 in the first five games of the series and went 1-for-5 Sunday.

"Coming back from two goals or three goals in the National Hockey League is not an easy thing to do," Laviolette said. "It's a difficult thing to do and most of the time you cave. And when you have to do it back-to-back, it's extraordinary."

Buffalo put the Flyers back in a hole when Gerbe's wrister from the high slot beat Boucher to the glove side with four minutes left in the middle period.

The Sabres withstood the Flyers' pressure through the early part of the period and was down a man after defenseman Chris Butler was called for holding at 8:39.

Buffalo killed off the man advantage, but Hartnell scooped in a loose puck from the slot four seconds after it ended.

Game Notes

Tyler Myers had three assists for the Sabres...Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger returned Sunday. He had not played since March 8 while recovering from a fractured right hand, and had 4:33 of ice time...Philadelphia played without forward Jeff Carter because of a lower-body injury...Buffalo did not have forward Jason Pominville because of a left leg injury.