FLYERS AT SABRES
(Series tied, 1-1)
TV: TSN, VERSUS, CSN-PH (HD), MSG-B (HD)
Big story: The Flyers got a power-play goal from Ville Leino in the second period and a strong relief effort in goal from Brian Boucher to take Game 2 on Saturday 5-4 and pull even in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series with the Sabres.
Flyers: Could Nikolay Zherdev be the answer to Philadelphia's power-play problems? The Flyers are just 1-for-15 in the first two games against the Sabres, including 0-for-3 on 5-on-3 chances.
Zherdev had 16 goals -- just 1 on the power play -- in 56 games this season, and is a highly-talented offensive player that certainly could help that unit. He's been a healthy scratch the first two games of the series, but had played well the final five games of the regular season. Those five games came after a long stretch as a scratch.
With Andreas Nodl questionable due to an upper-body injury suffered in Game 2, the Flyers might have a lineup hole to fill.
"When he came in he had a lot of pop right away," Laviolette said of Zherdev's return to the lineup late in the regular season. "The first couple games he had an impact. The puck was on his stick a lot. … He seemed to have lots of possession time and making plays when he first came back in."
Sabres: After playing two games at a raucous Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, the Sabres are happy to be home in Buffalo, where they know HSBC Center will be jumping.
"I think the emotion in the building will be incredible," said coach Lindy Ruff. "I think the atmosphere has always been incredible. It's our fans, it's our energy. … It's going to be fun to be in our building."
Making it more fun will be staying out of the penalty box, something the Sabres have failed to do. They've handed the Flyers 15 power plays in two games, including 10 in Game 2. Buffalo has killed off 14 of those shorthanded situations, but the one they didn't stop ended up as the Flyers' go-ahead goal.
"It's something we talked about before the game," Jason Pominville told NHL.com following Game 2. "We talked about it coming into the series and we haven't done a good enough job and put ourselves in penalty trouble. Definitely not the way we want to play. I thought our penalty killers did a good job, but if we give that team that many looks, they're going to make you pay eventually."
Who's hot: Flyers forward James van Riemsdyk scored after a nice drag move to create space for himself in Game 2, and has a team-best 10 shots in the series. … Thomas Vanek had a pair of power-play goals in Game 2, and has a good season skating against the Flyers -- in four regular-season games against them, he had 2 goals and 5 assists.
Injury report: Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger (hand) traveled with the team to Buffalo and is listed as day-to-day. Forward Andreas Nodl also is day-to-day, with an upper-body injury. … Sabres defenseman Shaone Morrisonn is questionable with an upper-body injury.
Stat pack: The last time the Flyers had 10 power plays in a game was Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Sabres, on April 24, 1998. The Flyers also went 1-for-10 in that game.
Puck drop: The Sabres went 16-4-4 following Terry Pegula taking over as team owner Feb. 22, and have not lost in back-to-back games since then.
"We knew that we couldn't afford to go on any type of two-game, three-game little slide," said Ruff with a laugh, "or I wouldn't be standing here and they wouldn't be in the dressing room and you guys would be doing baseball stories right now."