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Game Recap

Flyers 5, Sabres 4

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:46 AM

Associated Press

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Flyers 5, Sabres 4
Buffalo Sabres 4, Philadelphia Flyers 5

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Maybe now R.J. Umberger won't see himself flat on the ice every time he turns on the television.

Umberger scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third period, helping the Philadelphia Flyers even their first-round playoff series against Buffalo with a 5-4 victory on Friday night.

Peter Forsberg had two goals and a sensational assist, and Petr Nedved and Eric Desjardins also scored for the Flyers, who won their second straight game after a humiliating six-goal loss Monday.

Game 5 of the best-of-seven series is Sunday in Buffalo. The Sabres won both games at home, including an 8-2 victory in Game 2 after a double-overtime win in the opener.

Umberger was knocked woozy by Brian Campbell's heavy check in Game 1 and missed the next game. The hit has been replayed excessively on highlight shows everywhere.

Tired of seeing it, the rookie made the difference with his first playoff goal.

Umberger carried the puck from his blue line into Buffalo's zone and took a slap shot from the right circle that squirted under goaltender Ryan Miller's right arm.

"I saw that hit enough. Now you can show the goal," Umberger said.

It was one of the few bad ones Miller has allowed in the series.

"I don't want that to be the way this series is remembered," Miller said.

Daniel Briere scored twice and Thomas Vanek and Mike Grier had goals for the Sabres.

Robert Esche made 26 saves, including several during odd-man rushes for Buffalo.

"We missed too many opportunities," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "We didn't convert."

Forsberg scored into a wide-open net as Miller started to skate off the ice in the final minute. Grier scored a short-handed goal with 29 seconds remaining.

The Sabres tied it at 3 when Briere scored on a rebound during a 4-on-3 advantage in the third period. Nedved's power-play goal early in the third gave the Flyers a 3-2 lead.

Trailing 2-0, Philadelphia turned to Forsberg, who also scored twice in Game 3. One of the best playoff performers in NHL history, Forsberg made outstanding plays on offense and defense to get the Flyers even.

In the second period, Forsberg carried the puck out of Philadelphia's zone, made a nifty move to elude a defender and passed to Joni Pitkanen, who centered it back to Forsberg in the slot. Forsberg one-timed it over Miller's shoulder to tie it at 2.

Briere put the Sabres ahead 2-0 on a fluke goal midway through the first. Seconds after exiting the penalty box, Briere took an outlet pass from Henrik Tallinder and broke in alone on Esche, who made a pad save. But Desjardins, who was trailing Briere, fell into Esche, pushing himself, Esche and the puck into the net.

Earlier, Esche stoned Grier on a short-handed breakaway to prevent a two-goal deficit.

Desjardins made up for his miscue by scoring 2:03 later to cut it to 2-1 with help from Forsberg.

Forsberg skated in from center ice, somehow maintained possession through three defenders, circled behind the net and all the way back to the left circle, before he slid a pass to Desjardins, who was alone just inside the blue line. Desjardins ripped a slap shot past Miller.

The Sabres scored the first goal for the fourth straight game. Once again, the Flyers' series-long propensity for taking penalties hurt them.

Just 76 seconds in, Sami Kapanen was called for hooking. With the man advantage, Vanek redirected Rory Fitzpatrick's slap shot for his first goal of the playoffs to make it 1-0.

Forsberg's defensive effort late in the period may have been even more impressive than his assist. He charged in from behind the play and broke up a 3-on-1 rush with a hard check on Jochen Hecht.

"He's one of the best," Esche said of Forsberg. "He can really turn a game around."

The Sabres had an opportunity to take the lead in the second period when Derek Roy was awarded a penalty shot after being taken down by Pitkanen on a short-handed breakaway. But Roy's shot was wide right.

Buffalo fans are quite familiar with wide right. And, Flyers fans reveled in their misery before the game.

A frenzied, sellout crowd wearing orange T-shirts and orange cardboard helmets went wild when a replay of Scott Norwood missing - wide right - a 47-yard field goal on the last play of the Bills' 20-19 loss to the Giants in the 1991 Super Bowl was shown on the video screen.

Minutes later, they roared even louder when Lauren Hart, the daughter of longtime former Flyers broadcaster Gene Hart, sang "God Bless America," alternating lyrics with Kate Smith, who was on a video image. Smith's rendition of the song has been a rallying anthem for the Flyers since the mid 1970s.

Notes: Sabres D Teppo Numminen, who left Game 3 in the second period because of an irregular heartbeat, didn't play. ... Flyers enforcer Donald Brashear was a healthy scratch for the third straight game. ... The Flyers hadn't won consecutive games since beating the Rangers and Ottawa on March 22 and 25. ... The Sabres lost only once in the regular season when leading by two, a 5-4 shootout loss to the Rangers on March 27. The last time Buffalo blew a two-goal lead in the playoffs was May 3, 1997, against Philadelphia in a 5-3 loss.

scoring summary
1st Period
PPG - Thomas Vanek (1) ASST: Rory Fitzpatrick (1), Ales Kotalik (1)
1 - 0 BUF
Daniel Briere (2) ASST: Henrik Tallinder (1)
2 - 0 BUF
Eric Desjardins (1) ASST: Peter Forsberg (4), Joni Pitkanen (1)
2 - 1 BUF
2nd Period
Peter Forsberg (3) ASST: Joni Pitkanen (2)
2 - 2 Tie
3rd Period
PPG - Petr Nedved (2) ASST: Freddy Meyer (1), Eric Desjardins (3)
3 - 2 PHI
PPG - Daniel Briere (3) ASST: Chris Drury (2), Ales Kotalik (2)
3 - 3 Tie
R.J. Umberger (1) ASST: NONE
4 - 3 PHI
Peter Forsberg (4) ASST: NONE
5 - 3 PHI
SHG - Michael Grier (1) ASST: Dmitri Kalinin (2), Chris Drury (3)
5 - 4 PHI
penalty summary
1st Period
Sami Kapanen  Hooking against  Ales Kotalik
Daniel Briere  Interference against  Michal Handzus
Niko Dimitrakos  Hooking against  Jay McKee
2nd Period
Henrik Tallinder  Hooking against  Branko Radivojevic
Rory Fitzpatrick  Tripping against  Simon Gagne
3rd Period
Jason Pominville  Hooking against  Brian Savage
Maxim Afinogenov  Hooking against  Denis Gauthier
Jeff Carter  Interference against  Derek Roy
Mike Rathje  Holding against  Ales Kotalik
Paul Gaustad  Charging against  Denis Gauthier
Rory Fitzpatrick  Hooking against  Sami Kapanen
Daniel Briere  Hooking against  Eric Desjardins
goalie stats
Ryan Miller
Ryan Miller
SA: 33TOI: 59:41
Saves: 28EV: 23 - 27
PIM: 0PP: 5 - 6
SV%: .848SH: 0 - 0
Robert Esche
Robert Esche
SA: 30TOI: 59:57
Saves: 26EV: 20 - 21
PIM: 0PP: 4 - 6
SV%: .867SH: 2 - 3
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