Heading into tonight’s game a lot was made of the Sabres having not surrendered back-to-back losses since mid-February (Feb. 18 &20).
Tonight the Flyers gladly ended that streak.
The Flyers earned a 4-2 win in Game 3 at Buffalo and with it a 2 games to 1 series lead, and perhaps most important - definite momentum.
The Flyers, who as you might remember struggled down the stretch, have put together three very good games. Despite their loss in Game 1 Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette calls it one of the best defensive efforts all season long.
Regardless, there’s no doubting that the Flyers are playing good hockey. A lot of that having to do with the veteran presence tha comes with their netminder Brian Boucher and a big part of that had to do with the Flyers’ penalty killing unit.
“If you want to win games you’re going to have to kill situations like that,” said Boucher. We did a great job on that one and the four-minute [penalty] kill.”
Despite allowing an early goal to the Sabres on the power-play, the Flyers killed off five of six attempts by the Sabres, including a four-minute double minor and a 1:15 of 5-on-3 time for the Sabres.
“I thought our penalty killers did a good job,” said Laviolette. “I thought there weren’t a whole of opportunities and plays down low, but for the most part they did a really good job. You can take some confidence from that an just try and get back into the period.”
The Flyers have now posted four or more goals in three of their last four games and are certainly spreading the wealth. For the second straight night, all each of the goals were scored by different players.
The Flyers will look to take a commanding 3-1 series lead in Game Four at Buffalo on Wednesday. The game is at 7 p.m. on Comcast-SportsNet and 610 WIP radio.
|* The Flyers are now 33-32 all-time in Game 3 of a best-of-seven series. They are 18-3 all-time when leading a series 2-1 and are 14-7 in Game 4 in that situation.
* In their eight previous playoff meetings with Buffalo, the Flyers have not lost a series in which they led the Sabres at any point.
* Danny Briere has scored in two straight games… Dating back to last year Briere has points in six of his last seven playoff games with a total of 10 points (4G-6A) in that span.
* The Flyers had nine players record at least a point in tonight’s win, including four different players score a goal.
* Nikolay Zherdev recorded his first career Stanley Cup Playoff goal tonight… It was also the game-winning goal… The last Flyer to post a game-winning goal as his first NHL goal was Braydon Coburn on May 20 vs. Montreal in a 6-0 Flyers’ victory in 2010.
* The Sabres put a total of 30 shots toward the Flyers net in the first period (on goal + blocked + missed) compared to 11 for the Flyers on the Buffalo net.
* Braydon Coburn and Kimmo Timonen were each plus-3 tonight.
* Jeff Carter and Mike Richards each recorded their first points of the series. Carter took a total of nine shots (four on net, two blocked, three missed) and Richards took seven (one on net, five blocked, one missed)
* Andrej Meszaros logged the most minutes by any Flyer (or Sabre) in Game 3 (24:42).
|“I think our forecheck is something that we’ve thrived on all-year long. It’s one of our strengths.”
-- Danny Briere
"It was kind of a broken play. We just tried to dump it in and it hit their D. It gave me some room to walk in for an open shot and I was lucky to get one through."
-- Jeff Carter on his opening goal
“I have a belief in myself and I know I put a lot of work in this year to have a good season,” said Boucher. “I know there may be questions from the outside, but from myself I feel like I can do the job and I’m happy to be getting the chance.”
-- Brian Boucher
“Since that time I think what’s been most impressive for me is his attitude. He’s worked really hard and he’s committed just like everybody else. He got an opportunity tonight and he scores a big goal for us.”
-- Peter Laviolette
|For the second straight game, goaltender Brian Boucher backstopped the Flyers to victory by turning aside 35 of 37 shots in total.
Boucher earned his 19th career playoff victory and is 2-0 in this year’s postseason with a 1.68 goals-against average and .948 save percentage, stopping a total of 55 of 58 shots against.
The turning point of tonight’s game came between the 13-15 minute mark of the third period.
Nik Zherdev took a slashing penalty and Darroll Powe took a charging penalty 45 seconds later setting up 1:15 of 5-on-3 power-play time for the Sabres with the Flyers clinging to a one-goal lead.
Behind Brian Boucher, the PK unit killed off the penalty and held on to the lead eventually winning by a score of 4-2 after Kimmo Timonen put in an empty net goal.
|UTZ PIC OF THE NIGHT: Overhead view of tonight's Game 3 action.
Flyers 4, Sabres 2
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Brian Boucher stopped 35 shots as the Flyers new starting goalie in helping Philadelphia grab a first-round playoff series lead with a 4-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Monday night.
Danny Briere and Nikolay Zherdev keyed the victory by scoring second-period goals as Philadelphia bounced back with two straight wins after a 1-0 series-opening loss Thursday. Game 4 is at Buffalo on Wednesday.
Jeff Carter and Kimmo Timonen, with an empty-netter, also scored as the Flyers improved to 6-0-2 in their past eight visits to Buffalo, including the regular season.
Drew Stafford and Nathan Gerbe scored in a game the Sabres never led. Buffalo has lost consecutive games for the first time since ending a three-game skid Feb. 23.