Flyers roll over Sabres to advance

Buffalo Sabres' Ryan Miller makes a save on the Philadelphia Flyers' Claude Giroux. (REUTERS/Tim...

Buffalo Sabres' Ryan Miller makes a save on the Philadelphia Flyers' Claude Giroux. (REUTERS/Tim Shaffer)

MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:48 PM ET

PHILADELPHIA -- First they chased defending Vezina Trophy winner Ryan Miller from the game.

Then they ran the Buffalo Sabres right out of the playoffs.

For two long fretful weeks, The City of Brotherly Shove asked the question: "Will the real Philadelphia Flyers please stand up?"

On Tuesday night, they finally did.

And they did it with the type of swagger possessed by a veteran team that knew it had more talent, more confidence and more resolve than it's younger, inexperienced opposition.

"We have been in this position before, with our backs against the wall," Flyers captain Mike Richards said after his team's 5-2 Game 7 elimination of the Buffalo Sabres. "Our top players always seem to come through in these moments.

"We always have the belief that we can get it done."

And now that they are done with the pesky Sabres, the Flyers can sit back and wait to see who their opponents will be in the second round.

If the Boston Bruins defeat the Montreal Canadiens in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal Wednesday night, it will be a rematch of the second-round series of a year ago between Boston and Philadelphia.

And if that happens, you can bet the Bruins will be looking for revenge.

Just 12 months ago, the Flyers became only the third team in NHL post-season history to overcome a 3-0 deficit in games to win a playoff series, joining the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and the 1975 New York Islanders.

Their victims were the Bruins, who actually held a 3-0 lead in Game 7 and blew that, too, en route to losing the series.

Should the Habs win, however, the Flyers will go up against the winner of the Pittsburgh Penguins-Tampa Bay Lightning series. Those teams will also play a Game 7 on Wednesday night, this one in Pittsburgh.

"I don't care who we play, just as long as they go into double overtime and kill each other (Wednesday night)," joked Flyers forward Danny Briere, who scored his team-leading sixth goal of the series in the finale.

"I'm just going to sit back as a fan and watch the games."

In eliminating the Sabres, the Flyers turned in their best performance in what otherwise had been an exciting, roller-coaster matchup that featured a bit of everything.

Take the Flyers wobbly goalie situation, for instance. How a team could win a series like this in which its starter was pulled three times in the first six games certainly speaks to the character and resiliency of Peter Laviolette's team.

At one point, goalies Brian Boucher, Sergei Bobrovsky and Michael Leighton were referred to as "The Three Stooges" by the Buffalo News. Asked which Stooge he was, Boucher went with Curly.

But Boucher was anything but a stooge in Game 7, holding the Sabres off the scoreboard until the third period.

By that time, the Flyers had already sent Miller to the showers.

Braydon Coburn, Briere, James van Riemsdyk, Ville Leino and Daniel Carcillo scored for the Flyers. Tyler Myers and Brad Boyes replied for Buffalo.

Miller's frustrations were evident late in the second when, while playing a puck behind the Buffalo net, he smacked Carcillo in the face.

Carcillo would have the last laugh in the end.

So, too, would Richards, who became the villain of Buffalo after his controversial hits involving Patrick Kaleta and Tim Connolly did not result in suspensions.

And so, too, would two of their top players, Briere and Scott Hartnell, who allegedly were mocked by yappy Sabres forward Kaleta early in the series for their recent divorces.

The ferocity of the series caused Jeff Carter, Jason Pominville and Connolly to be sidelined due to injury. There were five one-goal games, two overtime contests and accusations between the teams that the other side was getting away with murder.

And, when all was said and done, the most talented team won.

Even Ryan Miller, who was pulled after the Flyers built up a 4-0 lead, couldn't argue with that.


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