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Sunday, 04.30.2006 / 2:00 PM

Associated Press

GAME: Philadelphia Flyers at Buffalo Sabres.

PLAYOFF SERIES: Eastern Conference quarterfinals; tied 2-2.

TIME: Sunday, 2 p.m. EDT.

R.J. Umberger hopes for some more positive highlights as the Philadelphia Flyers return to HSBC Arena.

Umberger and the Flyers seek a third straight victory when they play Game 5 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series with the Buffalo Sabres.

The last time Umberger played in Buffalo, he received a hard check from Sabres defenseman Brian Campbell as the Flyers suffered a 3-2 double-overtime loss in Game 1. The replay of the hit was shown several times and Umberger sat out Game 2, when J.P. Dumont and Jason Pominville each had three goals in Buffalo's 8-2 rout.

The Flyers were called for 17 penalties in Game 2, but were more composed as they returned to Philadelphia and won twice to even the series. In Game 4 on Friday night, Umberger fired a slap shot under goaltender Ryan Miller's arm to snap a tie midway through the third period and the Flyers held on for a 5-4 victory.

"I saw that hit enough. Now you can show the goal," Umberger said.

It was the first playoff goal for the rookie center, who had 20 during the regular season.

Philadelphia rallied from a two-goal deficit Friday as Peter Forsberg scored twice for the second straight game and had an assist to give him 162 points in 137 career playoff games.

Forsberg also hustled to break up a potential breakaway for Buffalo late in the opening period.

"He's one of the best," Flyers goaltender Robert Esche said. "He can really turn a game around."

Esche, who was replaced by Antero Niittymaki after allowing five first-period goals in Game 2, finished with 26 saves Friday. He made a big stop on Mike Grier during a short-handed breakaway after Philadelphia pulled within 2-1.

"We missed too many opportunities," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "We didn't convert."

After Forsberg tied the score at 2 early in the second, Derek Roy was pulled down by Flyers defenseman Joni Pitkanen while on a short-handed breakaway. Roy was awarded a penalty shot, but the center's shot sailed wide of the net.

Daniel Briere scored twice for Buffalo, giving him six goals and five assists in 12 games against the Flyers. Grier and Thomas Vanek had the other goals for the Sabres, who have not won a playoff series since eliminating Ottawa in seven games in the 1997 quarterfinals.

Sabres defenseman Teppo Numminen, who left Game 3 in the second period because of a racing heart and pulse, sat out Friday but is expected to return to the lineup for Game 5.

Game 6 is Tuesday night in Philadelphia.

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Flyers - 101 points; 5th seed. Sabres - 110 points; 4th seed.

PLAYOFF TEAM LEADERS: Flyers - Forsberg, 4 goals, 4 assists and 8 points; Ben Eager, 26 PIM. Sabres - Dumont, Pominville and Briere, 3 goals; Briere, Tim Connolly and Paul Gaustad, 3 assists; Briere, 6 points; Toni Lydman and Henrik Tallinder, 8 PIM.

PLAYOFF SPECIAL TEAMS: Flyers - Power play: 14.3 percent (3 for 21). Penalty killing: 84.4 percent (27 for 32). Sabres - Power play: 15.6 percent (5 for 32). Penalty killing: 85.7 percent (18 for 21).

GOALTENDERS: Flyers - Esche (2-2, 3.70 GAA); Niittymaki (0-0, 4.50). Sabres - Miller (2-2, 2.71); Martin Biron (no appearances).

series schedule/results
DateScoreW. Goal
May 02 '06BUF 7 at PHI 1A. Kotalik
Apr 30 '06PHI 0 at BUF 3T. Connolly
Apr 28 '06BUF 4 at PHI 5P. Forsberg
Apr 26 '06BUF 2 at PHI 4P. Forsberg
Apr 24 '06PHI 2 at BUF 8A. Kotalik
Apr 22 '06PHI 2 at BUF 3 - OTD. Briere
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%