Flyers rally from three-goal deficit to beat Sabres 5-4
Wednesday, 12.07.2011 / 10:32 PM
The Philadelphia Flyers
can rally from big deficits no matter which side of the country they're on.
Five days after overcoming a 3-0 deficit for a 4-3 win at Anaheim, the Flyers rallied from another three-goal hole for a 5-4 overtime victory in Buffalo on Wednesday night. Claude Giroux
's breakaway goal 2:27 into OT gave Philadelphia its third consecutive victory.
"That's the type of team we are, we don't quit," said Giroux, who also scored the OT winner in Anaheim. "We have a lot of character, and we're having a lot of fun here. The second period we played our game, and the third period, too."
The Flyers trailed 3-0 when Thomas Vanek
scored with 22.5 seconds left in the third period. But Max Talbot beat Ryan Miller
at 19:59 to start the comeback, and the Flyers got goals by Matt Read
, Scott Hartnell
and Jaromir Jagr
in the second to go ahead 4-3.
"It's something you don't want to do, get behind three goals, because sooner or later it's going to come back and become a bad loss," Hartnell said. "But there was lots of hockey left, and we kept going. As the game went on, we got stronger and stronger."
Jagr's snap shot past Ryan Miller
at 17:43 of the middle period gave the Flyers their first lead, but the Sabres tied it with 1:35 left in regulation when Drew Stafford
raced to the crease and snapped home Marc-Andre Gragnani
's passout for his fifth of the season.
However, Gragnani made the key mistake in overtime when he tried to make a pass from the left half-wall to defense partner Christian Ehrhoff
at the right point. Giroux picked off the pass and went coast-to-coast before deking and beating Miller with a short wrist shot.
"I'll take the blame for that," Gragnani said. "If I saw him, I wouldn't try that pass."
Giroux, who set assisted on all three second-period goals for a four-point night, moved into the NHL scoring lead with 37 points.
The Sabres, who've struggled after a good start to the season, were upset with themselves after seeing a three-goal lead produce only one point. They fell to 14-11-2 and have lost three of four -- with all three losses at home.
"We basically gave them all their chances, making east-west plays, and they capitalized on that," Stafford said. "We had the lead, we had the kind of start we talked about -- coming out strong, sticking up for teammates.
"It's not acceptable. We battled back and got the point, but we should have had two."
The Flyers improved to 16-7-1, including an NHL-best 10-3-1 away from home as they host Pittsburgh on Thursday. The winner goes home with the Atlantic Division lead.
"We don't ever seem to back off, or say, 'Not tonight," coach Peter Laviolette said. "Guys keep fighting for it, which is impressive."
The game started as well as the Sabres could have wanted.
Buffalo went ahead 10:16 into the game on a goal by ex-Flyer Ville Leino
, who had nothing but net to shoot at after Luke Adam
stripped Brayden Coburn near his own blue like and fed Zach Kassian for a quick 2-on-1. Kassian could have shot, but instead dropped the puck into the slot for a put-away by Leino.
It became 2-0 at 18:55 on a tremendous individual effort by Kassian, who controlled the puck along the right boards in the neutral zone, carried over the blue line and used defenseman Marc-Andre Bourdon
as a screen before zipping a 35-footer past Ilya Bryzgalov
Vanek's power-play goal from the left circle dribbled through Bryzgalov for a 3-0 lead. But with the period running out, Buffalo's Nathan Gerbe
overskated the puck in his own zone, and Jakub Voracek
set up Talbot for a quick one-timer an instant before the period ended.
"That goal was huge," Giroux said. "It gave us a little momentum, a little life, and in the second period we played our game."
Miller suffered a cut near his right eye 2:02 into the second period when teammate Brayden McNabb
fell on him as he tried to get back into his crease. The goaltender's mask came off Miller's mask came off and he was hit near the eye by Hartnell's shot during a scramble. After some medical attention, Miller stayed in the game.
But he couldn't hold off the energized Flyers, who made it 3-2 at 5:17 of the second period when Read deflected Kimmo Timonen
's slap shot from the left point past Miller. Hartnell tied it at 14:45 when he took Giroux's feed and fired a wrister from the right faceoff dot that hit Ehrhoff's skate and went past Miller. Jagr's wrister from the top of the left circle put Philadelphia ahead.
Material from team and national media was used in this report