Buffalo, NY – Daniel Briere set up a pair of goals late in the second period and early in the third in leading the Buffalo Sabres to a 3-0 win and a three-games-to-two lead in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Flyers on Sunday afternoon at HSBC Arena.
Leading 1-0, J.P. Dumont's power play goal with 48 seconds left in the second period made it a 2-0 game in favor of the Sabres.
Before the power play, Petr Nedved forced a turnover at the Buffalo blue line and skated in on goal. His attempt hit the post as Buffalo defenseman Dimitri Kalinin shoved Brian Savage into Ryan Miller, and Savage was called for goaltender interference at 19:01.
Dumont's goal came on a nice backhanded feed down low by Briere past a diving Denis Gauthier.
"We were starting to create chances and opportunities and the call on Savage and their power play goal at the end of the second period took the wind out of us," said Ken Hitchcock.
The Sabres increased their lead to 3-0 at 4:50 of the third period. Maxim Afinogenov was charging the net and received a feed by Briere for a slam-dunk goal.
Philadelphia came out strong in the opening minutes of the third period trying to get on the board, but a deflection attempt by Nedved missed the net and Miller swallowed up a tip by Mike Knuble in front of the goal.
Miller finished with 24 saves while Robert Esche stopped 30 Buffalo shots in the loss.
Game Six is on Tuesday night at the Wachovia Center (7:00 p.m., CSN).
"This thing is far from over," said Hitchcock. "I can tell you right now as a coach there's no x's and o's that we're going to be thinking about in the next 48 hours. Tenacity controlled this game and they deserve credit because they did the things to us that we did to them in Philadelphia."
"It's a seven-game series for a reason, and we understand that fully," added Esche.
The Sabres struck first for fifth straight game, as Tim Connolly stickhandled the puck untouched through the Flyers' zone towards the slot on the power play. His wrist shot sailed high over Esche at 6:05 for his third goal of the playoffs.
Buffalo has made a habit of quick starts against Philadelphia, and Connolly's goal was actually the latest that the Sabres have opened up a lead in the five games of the series.
"It's hard when every game we've been down first. We let the crowd get into it too early, and that's a tough hole to dig ourselves out of," said R.J. Umberger. "We need to find a way to have a better first period."
The Flyers registered their first shot with 7:15 left in frame and were outshot 14-3 in the period. Philadelphia's best chance to score came on a redirection attempt by Peter Forsberg in front of the net on a shot by Simon Gagne, but Miller covered the loose puck.
Philadelphia came out stronger in the second period outshooting the Sabres 14-6, but Dumont's goal was the only one of the frame.
The home team has won all five games in the series so far. Game Seven, if necessary, would be back at HSBC Arena on Thursday night.
"We know how we got beat today. Every player in that locker room knows how we got beat today, and we'll be a lot better in Game Six," said Hitchcock.
FLYERS NOTES The Flyers kept their same lineup as Games Three and Four. For Buffalo, defenseman Teppo Numminen returned after missing Game Four with an irregular heartbeat, but center Jochen Hecht was scratched due to injury. … Nedved took a knee-on-knee check at center ice by Paul Gaustad with six minutes left knocking him to the ice. … The Sabres improved to 3-10 all-time in Game Five when the series is tied 2-2. … Philadelphia is 2-10 all-time when trailing a series 3-2.