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Flyers v Sabres - 2011 Stanley Cup Conference Quarterfinals

Sabres' Miller admits to late-season concussion

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller revealed Thursday that the injury that sidelined him late in the regular season was a concussion.

Miller told reporters there were four shots in a one-week span in late March that hit him in the head, with blasts by New Jersey's Brian Rolston on March 26 and by Toronto's Dion Phaneuf on March 29 doing the most damage. However, Miller said it was the cumulative effect of the pucks' impacts that forced him to sit out four games.

Multiple media outlets at the time reported that Miller's injury, which the Sabres listed as an upper-body injury, was a bruised collarbone suffered on the Phaneuf shot. Miller acknowledged Thursday that he did have a significant bruise in the area of his collarbone, but not bad enough to force him to miss as many games as he did.

Pronger proves his value in Flyers' comeback

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

Anyone who doubted Chris Pronger's importance to the Philadelphia Flyers only needed to watch Games 6 and 7 of their first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series against the Buffalo Sabres.

Pronger missed the first five games recovering from surgery to repair a broken right hand. In that time the Flyers were shut out twice, shuffled through three goaltenders, went 2-for-26 on the power play and fell into a 3-2 series deficit.

Miller, Sabres come up short against Flyers in Game 7

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIARyan Miller’s highs during Buffalo’s seven-game Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against Philadelphia were very high indeed. The lows, however, were crushing.
Miller posted 1-0 shutouts in Games 1 and 4, making him only the third goalie in franchise history to post two shutouts in one series – he joins Bob Sauve (1983 vs. Montreal) and Dominik Hasek (1994 vs. New Jersey). But Miller was also victimized by 21 goals in the five other games, and the Flyers won four of them.
The bottom fell out Tuesday in Game 7 during a 5-2 defeat in Game 7 at Wells Fargo Center when Miller was pulled from a playoff game for the first time in 47 appearances.
"It's just a lot of disappointment right now," said a dejected Miller, surrounded by reporters after the game. "We didn’t get off to the start we wanted to and that's what happens when you don't step on a team's throat when you have a chance. We had our opportunity to end this series (in Game 6, a 5-4 overtime loss) and we didn't do it and they came back."

Flyers come up big on faceoffs, power play

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

PHILADELPHIA -- Through the first six games of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Buffalo Sabres, two of the areas the Philadelphia Flyers struggled in were faceoffs and the power play.
In Game 7 on Tuesday, with their season on the line, a pair of faceoff wins led to the Flyers' first two goals and their power play scored on its first two opportunities in their 5-2 victory against the Buffalo Sabres.
The Flyers won just 47.2 percent of faceoffs in the first six games, and even though they won just 34 of 71 in Game 7, it was two big ones that turned the tide of the game.
Late in the first period, Claude Giroux stepped into the circle to the left of Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller. Facing him was Paul Gaustad, the Sabres' best option on defensive-zone draws. Knowing what he was facing, Giroux tried to cheat, but was caught and tossed out of the circle. Danny Briere replaced him and it turned into a fortuitous move for the Flyers.
Briere beat Gaustad clean, drawing the puck between his skates and back to Braydon Coburn at the right point. Coburn's shot glanced off the glove of Sabres forward Mike Grier and got past Miller with 18.5 seconds left in the first period of what had been a scoreless game. 

Pronger happy to help Flyers oust Sabres

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

PHILADELPHIA -- In his second game back from a broken right hand that had sidelined him for nearly seven weeks, Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger played 29 shifts totaling 17:27. He had one shot, blocked five shots and picked up an assist on James van Riemsdyk's second-period power-play goal.
It was a major increase from Game 6, when Pronger played just 4:33, all on the power play.
He talked about the condition of his hand, as well as a few other items, following the Flyers 5-2 victory in Game 7 of their first-round playoff series against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday.

Roy returns for Buffalo for Game 7

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

PHILADELPHIA -- Four months ago Derek Roy was stuck at home, waiting for surgery to fix his torn left quadriceps muscle and wondering if he'd play again this season.
He'll have a chance Tuesday night to see if his dramatic comeback will last more than one game.
Roy will play in Game 7 against the Philadelphia Flyers (7:30 p.m. ET, VERSUS, TSN), his first game since getting hurt during a game Dec. 23 against the Florida Panthers.
"I just have to relax and take it easy," he told reporters following Tuesday's morning skate. "Make sure I'm ready and obviously going to get a little bit nervous and whatnot, but you have to put that behind and focus on what you have to do."

Sabres rewriting record books during series

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- The Buffalo Sabres were a loose and confident group following their practice here at the Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday in preparation for the seventh and deciding game of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal-round series against the Philadelphia Flyers.
And while playing in a Game 7 will be a new experience for several of the players, it should also be noted that these relatively young Sabres have also been rewriting their record books or are closing in on a few during this opening-round series.
For starters, Thomas Vanek's four power-play goals leave him one short of Pat LaFontaine's franchise-record of 5 set in 1992. Ryan Miller's two shutouts have equaled the team mark by Bob Sauve and Dominik Hasek for most goose eggs in not only one series, but a playoff year.
Then there's rookie Marc-Andre Gragnani, who has already established the Sabres' rookie record for assists (6) by a defenseman in one series. In fact, his total is one short of the team record for a series, held by Gilbert Perrault, Dale Hawerchuk and Miroslav Satan and is the most by a rookie defenseman in a playoff series since Hartford's Brad Shaw had 7 against Boston in 1990.

For Flyers, Game 7 brings its own special buzz

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

"It's just another game for me. You can't think about it as Game 7. I know it's a big game. I'm just going to prepare for it just like I did for the other games and not think about it. I'm going to play the same way I've been playing, not going to change anything. Just going to play my game."
-- Andrej Meszaros

PHILADELPHIA -- Flyers forward Kris Versteeg has played a lot of big games in his four-season NHL career, including last season's Stanley Cup Final.
The same goes for defenseman Andrej Meszaros, who has played 40 NHL postseason games, including five for the Ottawa Senators in the 2007 Stanley Cup Final.
Tuesday, however, will be their first Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Seventeen of the 20 players the Flyers will dress will have played in least one Game 7 at the NHL level. Most of them were on the ice for Game 7 of last year's semifinals against the Boston Bruins; for Chris Pronger, it will be his eighth Game 7.

Boucher back in lead in Flyers' goalie carousel

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- Brian Boucher is well aware of the teasing throughout the media circles these days regarding the Philadelphia Flyers goaltending situation.
In fact, he's content to just roll with the punches despite the fact he, Sergei Bobrovsky and Michael Leighton have at one time been labeled the man between the pipes in the last six games. When told the Buffalo scribes had referred to the three-man goaltending carousel in Philly as Larry, Mo and Curly of "Three Stooges" fame, he laughed.
"That's pretty funny," Boucher said. "I can't say, but which is the one with the bald head -- Curly? That's the guy I like the most, so maybe I'll be Curly."

Hard work, accountability are Richards' hallmarks

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- Flyers captain Mike Richards has been labeled a lot of things during his six seasons in the League -- "outworked" isn't one of them.
It seems Richards has made headlines for the wrong reasons the last two days answering questions regarding the hit he laid on Buffalo Sabres center Tim Connolly that will force the latter to the sidelines on Tuesday for Game 7 of his team's Eastern Conference quarterfinal-round series here at Wells Fargo Center.
Richards received a minor penalty for boarding on the play and the hit wasn't reviewed by the League. For Richards, taking the heat in order to take some pressure off his teammates is all in a day's work.
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