Flyers win wild game against Sabres

Philadelphia Flyers' Brian Boucher handles the shot as Jeff Carter hooks the Buffalo Sabres'...

Philadelphia Flyers' Brian Boucher handles the shot as Jeff Carter hooks the Buffalo Sabres' Patrick Kaleta. (REUTERS/Tim Shaffer)

By MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:55 PM ET

PHILADELPHIA - Ryan Miller stopped short of calling them the Broad St. Pussies.

But here in the land where 1970s bullies Dave Schultz, Bob Kelly, Don Saleski and, yes, even Bob Clarke, are still revered as local sporting icons more than three decades later, you can bet some of these Philadelphia Flyers and their rabid followers will take it as just that.

With each rain-soaked fan entering the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday afternoon receiving an orange t-shirt with the words “SEEK AND DESTROY” on the front, both the Flyers and Buffalo Sabres appeared to do exactly that to each other.

At least that’s how it appeared to most observers anyway.

But Miller had different ideas. He suggests this Philadelphia Flyers team is more about hustle than muscle. In Miller’s eyes, these aren’t your father’s Philadelphia Flyers.

“They’re not as tough as they’re putting out,” Miller said candidly after the Flyers wild 5-4 victory over the Sabres. “They want to play skill hockey.

“I’m not trying to start a controversy here but they want to play with skill.”

Miller might not want to stir things up, but some Flyers weren’t buying what he is selling.

“I don’t know if you want to say that to us. It might only encourage us,” said Flyers forward Ville Leino, adding that “we have a lot of tough players.”

No matter if Miller’s words were misconstrued or not, there is one thing that is perfectly clear.

The hatred has officially arrived.

Welcome to the Stanley Cup playoffs.

In a game that featured nine goals. 24 penalties, a goaltending switch by the Flyers and a lively scrap between Scott Hartnell and Paul Gaustad, Philadelphia evened this lively best-of-seven series at 1-1 heading into Game 3 on Monday night at Buffalo’s HSBC Arena.

Was Miller simply playing mind games with the Flyers with those comments, insinuating, in a backhanded way, that they are soft? Or was he being sincere, a stance he insists to be true?

Either way, his words were a bit surprising, considering the physical beating he took from the Flyers.

At time there appeared to be a wall of orange jerseys lining the edge of Miller’s crease, bulky bodies belonging to the likes of Hartnell who planted himself in front of the Sabres goalie and dared the Buffalo defence to move him.

Consider it a successful recipe.

At one point in the first period, James Van Riemsdyk took a couple of Paul Bunyan-type chops at a sprawling Miller, who was covering up the puck at the time. While we can’t say JVR was intentionally attempting to hurt Miller, the Flyers certainly would not shed any tears if the defending Vezina Trophy winner were to be lost for the series.

When asked about the incident, Miller merely shrugged his shoulders and replied: “I have no problem with it as long as we’re allowed to do it to them.”

Touche.

Of course, if Miller has no issues with the Flyer style, then why was he exchanging barbs with Mike Richards in the second period, a lively conversation that ended with the Flyers captain telling the Sabres goalie to “(Bleep) off?” Miller seemed upset that Richards had poked his stick around the face of a sprawled Andrej Sekera, who had dropped to the ice after appearing to take a puck in the, ah, unmentionables.

Van Riemsdyk, Leino, Claude Giroux, Dan Carcillo and Danny Briere scored for the Flyers, who were shut out 1-0 in Game 1. Thomas Vanek scored twice for the Sabres, with Cody McCormick and Andrej Sekera adding singles.

For Sabres coach Lindy Ruff, who has three defencemen appearing in their first playoffs, he was proud of the way his team stood up to the Flyers.

“The emotion in the building, the energy on the ice ... what an awesome game,” Ruff said. “I’m proud of the way our young guys stood in there and fought back. This is what the Stanley Cup playoffs are all about.”

Ryan Miller and Ville Leino would probably agree.


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