Game seven rolls in for the Philadelphia Flyers and the Buffalo Sabres. As emotions run high and tempers flare, expect plenty of action and plenty of goals in this series decider but for the team from the city of love to prevail.
For those of you who have been living in a hockey-free cave lately, this NHL playoff series
has been a terrific example of two close teams slugging it out like prize fighters, swapping goals and leads as if they just didn't care. Tight is as tight does
So far this series only one game has been decided by more than a single goal (Game 3 which went 4-2 to the Flyers). All the others have been close calls, (5-4 twice, 4-3 once and 1-0 twice). In a series where 2nd (Philadelphia) faced 7th (Buffalo) few would have expected that we'd have our eyes glued to the ice for a Game 7 decider, but that's exactly what we've got.
Despite the difference in Conference standing there's a just a paper thin difference between the Philadelphia Flyers
and the Buffalo Sabres
on the ice in this series. Three wins and three losses a piece, an OT win (each) a goals per game of 2.67 for the Sabres and 2.83 for the Flyers. Dare I say; working solely off goals scored, the game should end 3-3 and head into Over Time, before the Flyers edge it. Series re-cap
In this series Buffalo caused the first shock as they beat and shutout the Flyers 1-0 in Philadelphia in Game 1. The Flyers bounced back (just) 5-4 to tie the series 1-1 in Game 2, and then took a lead in Game three winning 4-2, over in Buffalo, the Sabres took a home win in Game 4 tying the series 2-2, ahead of the first return to Philadelphia. Buffalo then gave themselves the chance of taking the series on home ice when they beat the Flyers 4-3 in Philadelphia, but they let slip Game 6 setting up a rousing Game 7 decider at Philadelphia .Game 6 – oh what a night, oh what a game
Flyers' netminder Brian Boucher got some redemption after game 5 (in which he allowed three goals on 11 shots) by stopping 24 shots, Chris Pronger returned and delivered an inspirational performance "We've been through a lot of ups and downs and adversity, and we always seem to come through in the clutch," Pronger said. "That happened today."
While it was Ville Leino, who made the difference and crushed Sabres' dream of taking the series on home ice , by scoring 4:43 into overtime to cap a 5-4 win on Sunday. The Flyers did keep up their revolving door policy on goalies, giving Michael Leighton a start, before promptly having him "relieved" after allowing three goals on the first seven shots he faced. It's a random roulette wheel for who'll start Game 7.
The Sabres had their chances but couldn't grind out the win. "We haven't done it the easy way, but we're not going to bail out now," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "We've got to win the next one."
Injury wise it's a mixed bag for the Sabres, they'll likely be without center Tim Connolly (courtesy of a shove from Flyers Captain Mike Richards), and Right wing Jason Pominville will miss Game 7 due to a lower-body injury, but they should have Derek Roy back. "It's great. I've put in a lot of hard work," Roy told reporters in Buffalo. "Give credit to the coaching staff and the trainers and everyone who has helped me along the way. It's been a tough road, four months, and I'm back and I'm ready to go. It's going to feel good."Some saw Game 7 coming
The Flyers seem to be a team that like making work for themselves, don't forget that, last season they trailed Boston 3-0 in the Eastern Conference
semi-finals and still went on to win the series, and even then they allowed themselves to get into a 0-3 hole in Game seven against the Bruins before winning the game. "We can't hang our heads," Philadelphia's Danny Briere said. "We were in a worse position last year, so if there's a group of guys that can do it, I believe in this group here."
This handicapper and SBR foretold that the Flyers would tie the series 3-3 in Game 6
. Continuing on a roll, I'd remind you that if you want to stay true to me and the SBR predictions, back before this series kicked off I had it down as a close one with the Flyers taking in seven games
. I thought I was right then, and I'm sticking to it now. Prediction: Flyers take the series in a thrilling 4-3 victory