PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 26: Danny Briere #48 of the Philadelphia Flyers celebrates his second period goal against the Buffalo Sabres with teammates James van Riemsdyk #21 and Mike Richards #18 in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center on April 26, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game 7 -- Flyers win series, 4-3
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PHILADELPHIA -- Now that's how you win a playoff series.
It was tight, stressful and heart pounding for six long games, but as the Philadelphia Flyers arrived at the WFC tonight for Game 7, it was clear that they were on a mission.
The Buffalo Sabres and goaltender Ryan Miller talked about how the Flyers were getting away with "mass murder" in this ECQF series, and they were going to show them exactly what mass murder actually looks like. You know, in terms of hockey at least.
Buffalo's magical season came to an abrupt end tonight at the hands of a team that had completely control over them from the first puck drop to basically the final whistle. A team that looked like they had no business even playing in a Game 7. A team that, by the third period, seemed like they were simply toying around with the notion that there was still hockey to be played in this game. A team that was ready for bigger and better things.
There's really no other way to put it -- the Flyers just flat out dominated the Sabres in Game 7. They put 70 pucks towards the net in the game, outshot Buffalo 16-2 in the first period, and really, just made us all feel comfortable with the way things were going throughout the game. How often does that happen?
Hell, they even scored two power play goals. Buffalo turned it up towards the end of the game -- of course, with the season on the line, that's automatically going to happen no matter what -- but the Flyers came away with a whopping 28 blocked shots in the game. That's a big reason for their success tonight. The Sabres just simply didn't get many quality scoring chances. It's easy to win when that happens.
So after all the words from Miller and Lindy Ruff and all the ups-and-downs in the series, the Flyers come out looking just right. Good-enough goaltending from Brian Boucher, a relatively healthy Chris Pronger (and minus Jeff Carter, a healthy team all around) and an offense that can seemingly score at will when they want to, even against arguably the best goaltender in the world.
Now, we wait for an opponent. 12 wins to go.
Some more thoughts, post-game video, question with answer and the comment of the night after the jump.
- Danny Briere has 93 points in 92 career playoff games, but tonight, his face off wins were bigger than anything else. Briere won the draw on Braydon Coburn's first period goal, leading to the point shot that beat Miller. Then, he won a face off on the power play in the second, walked to the front of the net, knocked down Mike Richards' shot and tapped in the loose puck. Dude is an animal.
- Jhonas Enroth came in for the Sabres. Dan Carcillo welcomed him with a goal. Thanks for playing.
- These are two separate quotes from Lindy Ruff tonight.
First: "I really think that if we don't lose the number of players we could have gotten a better kick at it. We lost too many good players. You lose Pominville for four to six months, Connolly for four to six weeks, and we lost Niedermayer again. We were digging pretty deep, but you got to go back and look at where we came from. I think you have to be healthier going into the playoffs."
Second: "They haven't used an excuse in the book."
- Whatever. After thought at this point.
- Speaking of, Peter Laviolette was nothing but classy after the win, congratulating the Sabres for a solid minute on their strong series and season.
- Seriously though, credit to the Sabres. They were a fine opponent.
- Peter Laviolette said he dressed seven defensemen in Game 6 because the game plan was to keep Chris Pronger on special teams only. He dressed seven defensemen again in Game 7 but Pronger saw a pretty regular shift, finishing with 17 minutes of ice time. Danny Syvret, the No. 7 guy, saw exactly 19 seconds of ice time. I guess we shouldn't expect seven defensemen in Round 2.
- I hope we get video of James van Riemsdyk's dangle (not sure when in the game it was). He didn't score, but holy shit.
- JvR and Braydon Coburn each outshot the Sabres in the first period.
- Looking ahead briefly to the ECSF: if the Flyers play Boston or Pittsburgh (strong chance of either, can also play Tampa), they'll play a team with an even more anemic power play than theirs. Believe it.
- Finally, not related to the game but worth throwing in here: Via Anthony SanFilippo, Michael Leighton apparently went AWOL after Game 6. He wasn't in the building tonight.
Post-Game Video: Danny Briere
Post-Game Video: Mike Richards
Post-Game Video: Lindy Ruff
Post-Game Video: Peter Laviolette
Question with Answer
- Is the season over tonight? No way in hell, baby.
Comment of the Night
Buffalo should play this last two minutes with golf clubs, to get warmed up – Chris Therien