The NHL is starting to become like March Madness. Okay, it is a best-of-seven series instead of single elimination, but the Stanley Cup Playoffs are still fun to watch. What a great start to the NHL postseason. There were four game 7’s, and nine consecutive days of which one game had gone into overtime. Oh, by the way, the nine consecutive days of overtime was a new NHL record. Who knows what to expect in the second round? What we do know, is that no goalie is safe. So far, seven teams switched goalies during the playoffs. The Philadelphia Flyers used three different goalies in the first round. Both are very unusual statistics.
Game 7 Breakdowns:
Sabres vs. Flyers
How we arrived here:
In game one, it was a defensive struggle. The Sabres pulled off a 1-0 win over the Flyers after spectacular goaltending from Ryan Miller, and Patrick Kaleta’s clutch third-period goal. Game two was a different story. Six goals were scored in the first period, and Flyers’ goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky lost his starting job. Peter Laviolette, the Flyers’ coach, inserted Brian Boucher to replace Bobrovsky after Buffalo’s third goal in the period. The move was made to wake up his team; and the Flyers did wake up as they came from behind and won 5-4. In game three, Boucher shut down the Sabres in his first start of the series, and Jeff Carter had one goal and one assist to lead the Flyers to a 4-2 victory. In game four, Buffalo evened up the series with another 1-0 victory. Then, Buffalo won game five in overtime with a score of 4-3. This game was highlighted by Boucher getting replaced by Michael Leighton, and Sabres’ left wing Tyler Ennis scoring two goals including the game winner. Game six was a must win for Philadelphia. They had to win in Buffalo to force a game 7. The Flyers got off to a slow start after Leighton’s poor goaltending. Boucher was given another chance, and the Flyers rallied to tie the game at four. The two teams would go into overtime for a second straight game. Four minutes and forty-three seconds into overtime, Villie Leino scored to keep the Flyers alive. The Sabres were stunned after blowing a 3-1 lead, and now they had to back to Philadelphia for game 7.
It was all Flyers. Philadelphia fans received a treat, while Buffalo fans were wondering why their team did not bother to show up. Game seven was a blowout. The Flyers won 5-2, and Sabres goalie Ryan Miller was yanked in the third period (not the way you want to finish your season).
Former Sabres player Danny Briere came up big for the Flyers. He led his team with one goal and one assist in the game. Briere had a huge series as well. He scored six goals against his former team. The Flyers look to return to the Stanley Cup and win it this time. Next up for the Flyers is the Boston Bruins. The Bruins look for redemption of their own after they blew a 3-0 series lead against the Flyers last year.