THE AFTERMATH: FLYERS 5, SABRES 4 (OT)
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Ville Leino scored 4:43 into overtime to lift the Philadelphia Flyers to a 5-4 victory on Sunday and force Game 7 of their first-round playoff series against the Buffalo Sabres.
Danny Briere scored twice while Brian Boucher stopped 24 shots in the latest Flyers goalie shuffle. Boucher took over to start the second period after Michael Leighton allowed three goals on the first seven shots he faced. Scott Hartnell had a goal and assist and James van Riemsdyk also scored for the Flyers, who overcame a two-goal deficit while drawing upon Chris Pronger's presence.
The gritty defenseman played sparingly in his game after missing 21 with a broken right hand.
Thomas Vanek scored twice for Buffalo, while Rob Niedermayer and Nathan Gerbe also scored.
Game 7 is in Philadelphia on Tuesday. MORE.
The Flyers spent most of the evening finding ways to get pucks on net and managed to fire 49 shots at Ryan Miller. Ville Leino only took two of those shots, but the second one kept the Flyers’ season alive and sent the series back to Philadelphia for decisive Game 7 on Tuesday. With less than five minutes gone in the overtime period, Kimmo Timonen carried the puck up the right wing boards into the Buffalo zone and dropped it for Kris Versteeg. Versteeg’s initial shot attempt was blocked by Paul Gaustad, but he got the puck right back. He fired another one toward the net that was headed high and wide, but the puck got knocked down and landed in the crease at the feet of Leino, who was able to knock it in for the game-winning goal.
- Tim Connolly left the game during the second period after getting hit from behind by Philadelphia’s Mike Richards. Richards received a boarding minor and Connolly did not return. Following the game, Lindy Ruff said Tim Connolly will not play in Game 7 and that Derek Roy will make his return to the lineup. Roy has not played since Dec. 23.
- Miller tied his career-high for saves in a playoff game with 44. The last time he recorded that many saves in a postseason contest was Apr. 29, 2007 against the Rangers in double-overtime. With the loss, Miller moves to 7-6 all-time in overtime playoff games.
- Michael Leighton started in goal, becoming the third different Flyers goaltender to start in the series. Sergei Bobrovsky started Game 1 and was relieved by Brian Boucher during the first period of Game 2. Boucher then started the next three games, but was pulled during the first period of Game 5.
- Leighton, however, only played one period in Game 6. He allowed three goals on eight shots and was pulled in favor of Boucher to begin the second period. Boucher finished with 24 saves on 25 shots. Following the game, Laviolette told the media that Boucher will start Game 7 for the Flyers.
- Rob Niedermayer opened the scoring with his first goal of the postseason, marking his first playoff goal since June 6, 2007 with Anaheim. That goal came in the Ducks’ Stanley Cup-clinching win over Ottawa.
- Thomas Vanek scored his fourth and fifth goals of the series, both of which came on the power play. Vanek now has four power play goals in the series, one shy of Pat LaFontaine’s franchise record of five power play goals in one playoff series, which he did against Boston in 1992.
- Marc-Andre Gragnani assisted on both of Vanek’s goals, giving him a team-leading seven points in the series (1-6-7). With six assists, Gragnani is one shy of tying the franchise record for most assists in a single playoff series shared by Gilbert Perreault (3 times), Dale Hawechuk and Miroslav Satan.
- Tyler Myers recorded an assist on each of Buffalo’s three goals in the first period and logged 24:11 of ice time for the game.
- Jason Pominville did not dress for the game due to an undisclosed injury he sustained during Friday night’s game in Philadelphia. Matt Ellis was recalled from Portland and dressed in his place.
- All-Star defenseman Chris Pronger made his first appearance of the series and logged 4:33 of ice time, all of which came on the power play.
- Ryan Miller picked up an assist on Nathan Gerbe’s goal to register his first career playoff point.
- James van Riemsdyk scored a goal and led both teams with10 shots on goal in the game.
- It was the first time since May 19, 2007 that a playoff game at HSBC Arena went to overtime.
- Tonight’s attendance of 18,690 marked the 16th consecutive sellout at HSBC Arena. In addition, roughly 6,000 more Sabres fans watched the game outside the building at the Party in the Plaza.
- Shaone Morrisonn did not play due to an undisclosed injury for the fifth straight game while Andrej Sekera was also out of the lineup with an injury for the fifth time in six games this series. Pominville missed his first game of the series.
- Defenseman Dennis Persson and goaltender Patrick Lalime were Buffalo’s healthy scratches.
- Jochen Hecht (upper body) remained sidelined due to injury and has not played since Mar. 29.
- Defenseman Nick Boynton, forwards Jeff Carter, Jody Shelley, Andreas Nodl and Zac Rinaldo and goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky were scratched for the Flyers.
The Sabres and Flyers will hit the ice one more time to decide the outcome of their best-of-seven Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series. Game 7 is set for 7:30 p.m. at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Tuesday.