Saturday, April 16, 2011
Posted: 8:05 p.m. Updated: 10:02 p.m.
By Tim Panaccio
Roughly seven minutes into Saturdays second playoff game between the Buffalo Sabres and Flyers, the officials didnt make a call on Paul Gaustads takedown of Danny Briere on a faceoff.
Sparks flew everywhere after the draw -- scrums, fights.
Dan ORourke and Brad Meir lost complete control after that non-call, then proceeded to over-officiate the remainder of the Flyers 5-4 victory at Wells Fargo Center to the point, they simply ruined Game 2.
It was a terribly, disjointed display of hockey with no flow whatsoever.
We developed flow on special teams, deadpanned coach Peter Laviolette. When the 5-on-5 gets broken up, some guys end up sitting too much. It seemed like our power plays came in bunches, so the penalty killers and the guys that play certain roles ended up sitting for a while.
It was not the start we were looking for in the third period with taking six minutes of the first seven so the power play guy starting sitting for a bit. Some guys were stuck playing too much but when looking at the minutes, it seemed to even out because it was a fairly close call with the penalties, so they all got a lot of work.
Yep, the Flyers had 15:49 power play time to Buffalos 11:40.
The good news?
This Eastern Conference quarterfinal series is tied 1-1 going back to Buffalo for Game 3 on Monday.
Sources said Chris Pronger wont play in Game 3, either, though he did report his right hand was feeling better after skating on Saturday.
Its a fine line to crossing over where its too emotional and youre taking penalties, Briere said. As far as intensity and being ready to go we did a really good job in that first period.
To the refs defense, it was a very chippy game and a tough one to ref. They were put into a tough position. Right off the bat, I thought he was crowding the faceoff. I tried to get on the inside and he pushed me to the ground. Everybody was kinda fired up even more. At the end of the night it all evens out.
Starter Sergei Bobrovsky didnt make it out of the first period, yielding three goals on seven shots. He was brutal.
Laviolette would not comment who will start in Game 3 but he twice reiterated about the calmness Brian Boucher brought.
I think there are areas we could have played better in front of him, Laviolette said. But the change in momentum at that point, Boosh is a veteran goaltender.
And in a situation where they come back and have taken the lead, when you get somebody in there who has some calmness to them and a presence about them, who handles the puck a little bit better, maybe takes the pressure off of our defensemen.
Boucher was outstanding in relief with 20 saves.
Boosh really stepped up, Claude Giroux said. Any time a goalie comes in like that, Its tough. He really helped us and was a big reason why we won.
The Flyers led 5-3 lead going into the third period and began by killing off
two penalties, only to have Cody McCormick sneak a tip from Rob Niedermayers wraparound pass after the second Sabres power play ended, making it a one-goal goal.
When the march to the box died down, Boucher held things together coming in cold.
I think its a role you have to grow into a little bit, Boucher said. Obviously its a little more comfortable to know that you are getting the start and prepare the day before accordingly, but sometimes you have to deal with curveballs.
It was a pretty wild start with three goals in less than eight minutes after no goals until the third period in Game 1.
The first period was lively, Laviolette said. It was incredible and for anyone that was in the building, they got treated to some great stuff. It was a fast, furious, hard hitting and every piece of ice was accounted for.
Giroux started it at 4:14, taking a pass from Kimmo Timonen and then weaving through traffic for a brilliant shot on Ryan Miller to make it 1-0.
Buffalo tied it shortly after during a power play as a 5-on-3 became a 5-on-4 when Braydon Coburn recklessly centered a puck into the slot, forcing Bobrovsky out of the net for a challenge, then it ping-ponged around before Thomas Vanek found an open net to tie it.
Dan Carcillo, who had an overtime game winner last year in the playoffs against New Jersey, regained the lead at 7:20 when Miller misplayed a shot from Kris Versteeg outside the net and the puck trickled into the crease for Carcillos open net tap in.
That 2-1 Flyer lead lasted roughly two minutes before Buffalo got another power play goal when Bobrovsky misplayed a puck at the post and Vanek tucked it home for his second goal of the game.
Bobs reign in net ended at 12:30 as Andrej Sekera, a late substitution for Shaone Morrisonn, came out of the penalty box for a three-on-one rush and beat the Flyers net minder through the five-hole, chasing Bobrovsky for Boucher.
We put him in a tough position, Briere said of Bobrovsky. I think it was more of a message sent to the team to relax. With Bob being young, giving up three goals, its a tough thing in the playoffs. I think the message was mostly sent to the guys in front of him.
James van Riemsdyk hit the post in the opening period of Game 1. Well, he took a pass from Andrej Meszaros off the right boards at 13:14 and fired from the high slot again off the right post. This time, however, the puck ricocheted inside off the post to beat Miller, making it, 3-3.
The Flyers had a 5-on-3 power play at periods end for 1:08 and failed to score. Again, all these wasted power play chances in the series are going to haunt the Flyers in this series.
Its tough to play those king of games, Giroux said. You try to get momentum. The penalties just come out and it kills all the momentum. It was tough to get into that game.
The powerless play streak ran to 0-or-7 in the game and 0-for-12 in the series before Ville Leino ended it at 13:36 with a wicked wrister from the left circle that curled toward Millers glove side, breaking the 3-3 tie.
The goal was important, Leino said. The power play has been struggling a little bit so were pretty happy we got one goal and I think its going to keep us confident for the next game.
Less than two minutes after Leino scored, Briere gave the Flyers their first, two-goal lead of the series, directing Hartnells shot from the point past Miller.
By games end, the Flyers were 1 for 10 on the power play and are now 1 for 15 in the series. That isn't going to work. But hey, they did kill off 6 of 8 penalties.
I think it was a little bit too much Flyers hockey in the first, Sean ODonnell said. You know, we needed to kind of settle down a little. Its hard when youre asked to play on the edge and the fans are in it and they like seeing that stuff.
But you get running around a little bit and I think we got a little bit away from our game in the first. Maybe scale it back a little with a little more composure.
Its nice to see that enthusiasm but sometimes playoff hockey is about who is more composed, who plays the system better, who takes that punch to the head. I think that we did a better job of that and thats why had the extra power play time.
What the Flyers need next are some extra power play goals.
E-mail Tim Panaccio at email@example.com
Related: Boucher has calming effect on Flyers in Game 2 win Flyers notes: special teams, Pronger still out, JVR