Eastern Conference Quarterfinals -- Series tied, 2-2
[Box Score] - [Full Series Coverage] - [Game Page] - [Buffalo Reaction]
[Shift Charts] - [Head-to-Head TOI] - [Corsi and Fenwick] - [5-on-5 Faceoffs]
There's no doubt about the difference in tonight's Game 4 between the Flyers and Sabres. Ryan Miller was absolutely brilliant, making 32 saves to secure the victory. But let's not pretend that Miller was the only reason the Sabres tied the series at 2-2 as we head back to Philadelphia.
The Buffalo defense also deserves a ton of credit, breaking up cross-ice passes with frequency throughout the evening, successfully preventing the Flyers from making Miller move from post-to-post. They clogged the middle much like they did in Game 1, and it's increasingly looking like the defense and Miller need each other to have a strong, game-changing kind of evening. It happened in Game 1 and it happened again tonight.
Of course, the Flyers had their chances. Danny Briere, James van Riemsdyk and Mike Richards all had prime chances to tie the score in the third period alone. If the power play is capable of doing anything, there's a great chance the Flyers come out on top in this game. Miller and the Sabres defense aside, the finish just wasn't there tonight at even strength or on the power play.
We'd be remiss without mentioning the horrible officiating. For essentially the last 25 minutes of the game, the Flyers controlled just about everything in terms of the attack. If Francois St. Laurent doesn't rob them of five extra attack time minutes at the start of the third period, maybe they get a chance by Miller.
But instead, the Sabres are right back in the series. The stranglehold is nowhere to be found, and on Friday night in Philly, we'll be looking for another vital win. Things will have to change, but then again, a lot of things will have to stay the same.
After the jump, a few quick notes, questions with answers and the comment of the night.
- I don't think I've ever seen Peter Laviolette angrier than he was at the officials tonight, and rightfully so. They've been bad all series and bad all playoffs long, but tonight was just a travesty. Francois St. Laurent deserves to lose his job. He has a history of being bad (remember that call on Kimmo Timonen in OT against the Coyotes a few months ago?) and just should not be officiating in the NHL.
- James van Riemsdyk was an animal tonight. He deserved about 10 goals tonight, not even kidding. The fourth line was also fantastic throughout the game.
- Patrick Kaleta is a horrible, horrible person.
- Nathan Gerbe took a run at Kimmo Timonen at the end of the game. The Sabres have really shown their true colors throughout this series, and that kind of stuff really says a lot.
- Seriously though, Ryan Miller is pretty incredible. It's scary.
- Jeff Carter left the game in the first period after colliding with Tyler Myers. There was a chance he could have returned in the game, so hopefully it's not all that serious. The Flyers are calling it a lower-body injury.
- Hey, a lot of us knew this would be a long series. Miller can't steal the whole thing, and hey, the Sabres were horrible in that third period. Let's go, Flyers.
Questions with Answers
- More Booooosh? Boosh was great again.
- Can Jeff Carter continue to break out? He got hurt.
- Is the penalty kill better? The penalty kill was fantastic, especially on the major.
- I think Danny Briere is going to have a good game tonight. Does Danny Briere have a good game tonight? Briere was good.
- Commanding series lead? Go to hell.
Comment of the Night
If I wanted to see a bunch of assholes in black and white take over a game, I'd be a White Sox fan.