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Buffalo vs. Philadelphia Game 3 live blog

by Shawn P. Roarke

20:00 That's it. Flyers eke a 4-2 victory and regain control of the series. Brian Boucher was brilliant and Peter Laviolette looks like a genius for once again playing his hunch. Kimmo Timonen scored aqn empty-net goal with 18 seconds remaining to give Philadelphia its breathing room

Buffalo has pulled Miller and has a 6-on-5 advantage. They have just one shot in last 8 minutes though. Philadelphia is just jamming up the slot.
Philadelphia has found a way to tighten the screws defensively. Buffalo still owns the majority of play but can't get shots through to Boucher as easily. In fact the only have one shot in past 5 minutes.

It's all Buffalo right now. They are out-shooting Philadelphia 8-2 in this period, but have not solved Boucher yet. Philadelphia, though, is playing with fire by allowing the play to remain in their end for long stretches.

The perfect storm is brewing in Buffalo. Darroll Powe just blasted Marc-Andre Geagnani down in front of Boucher. Unfortunately, he definitely earned two minutes for cross-checking the Sabre into the cross bar. Buffalo has 75 seconds of 5-on-3 time now.

Buffalo is swarming. They have had three great chances, only to see Boucher turn each away. Now, Nikoly Zherdev has taken an defensive-zone penalty to give Buffalo a much-deserved power play.

Kill it they did. Philadelphia's Kimmo Timonen just took an interference penalty to even things up.

Not the start Buffalo wanted. Paul Gaustad, who has been a burr in the side of many Philadelphia players, just took an interference penalty on hit he delivered to Darroll Powe. Buffalo needs this kill in the worst way.

Start of Second

End of Second, PHI 3 -BUF 2, BUF leads in shots, 26-21

Buffalo is not going gently in the Western New York
night. Nathan gerbe, dominate all night, just snapped a hard shot past Brian Boucher to make it 3-2. Gerbe beat the Flyer defense to the rebound of a shot by Tim Connolly. We got ourselves a game in the third period, it seems.
Goal BUF, 2-3

There's been a Nikolay Zherdev sighting. Actually, he just scored the goal that made it 3-1 PHI and took a lot of air out of this building. Mike richards actually made the play with a sweet pass across the slot that left Zherdev with nothing more to do than redirect it into the unguarded far side of the net. Zherdev was in the lineup because forward Andreas Nodl could not play afetr being injured in Game 2. Goal PHI, 3-1

Buffalo kills off the Tyler Myers penalty but then needed a great save from Ryan Miller on Ville Leino to keep this a one-goal game. SUrely, Buffalo wants to try to re-gain the lost momentum in the next four minutes.

The dislike in this series just went up another notch. Not shocking to see Scott Hartnell in the middle of it. He has been banging bodies all night. he had a pretty good tussle just now with several Sabres, one that ended with hartnell and Mike Weber in the box for roughing minors.

Buffalo's momentum has definitely been blunted. they have just 6 shots in this period and Tyler Myers just took a cross-checking penalty right in front of the Philadelphia crease. Myers, though, did look good on the rush into the zone and pinched in and drove the net hard before taking the penalty. He can certainly skate for a big man.

Philadelphia is really trying to slow the game down, but Buffalo is still getting its chances. Nathan gerbe, who has been flying all night, has two great chances in the period already. Rob Niedermayer has also been good. Lindy Ruff said he really liked Niedermayer in Game 2. He is just as good tonight -- really moving his feet and physically engaged.

Buffalo gets another piece of bad news. Patrick Kaleta has been ruled out of the game with what the team is calling an upper-body injury. He was hurt on a first-preriod hit by Braydon Coburn, which resulted iN an interference penalty.

Philadelphia retakes the lead after Chris Butler whiffs on an attempt to play the puck near Ryan Miller's crease. Scott hartnell, in on an aggressive forecheck, pounced on the puck and made a short pass to Danny Briere, who fired a one-timer past Ryan Miller. Needless to say, the fact that Briere scored the goal was not well-received by the HSBC denizens. Goal PHI, 2-1
Buffalo can't score on the remaining PP and squander a four-minute power play.

Start of Second

End of First, BUF 1-PHI 1, BUF leads in shots, 16-10

Buffalo had severaL great chances in last three minutes of the period, but could not score. Philadelphia survives a six-shot barrage and goes into intermission with as 1-1 tie. By the way, there was a good reason Gaustad was looking in the net for his shot a few minutes back. It was close enough that the NHL Situation Room reviewed the shot to see if the puck crossed the line. It did not.

Wow, Scott Hartnell just took one of the weirdest double minors I have ever seen. He gets two for interference on the trailing guy on a Buffalo rush and then another two for delay of game when he crashes into the net and knocks it off its moorings. Buffalo on PP for rest of period.

Buffalo has taken back the momentum in a major way. Stafford and Gaustad each had excellent chances On that last shift. Gaustad's was so good in fact that he skated all around the net looking for the puck to be nestled in there. Somehow Brian Boucher stopped it though.

It's tied 1-1. Drew Stafford scores with a wicked wrister from the slot to cap what had been a sensational power play. This morning, Stafford said that he spent the offseason working on his shot, especially his release. That goal was a beauty, a stong snapper just under crossbar. Goal, BUF 1-1

Kaleta just got wrecked on a hit by Braydon Coburn behind Flyer net. Coburn got a penalty and Kaleta got up gingerly and had to be helped to the bench by the trainer. Big power play for the home side here.

Brian Boucher just made his first big save, denying Paul Gaustad on a stuff attempt. On another not, I have been reading during the first two games that James van Riemsdyk was a horse in this series. He is. Completely different player than the one struggled for much of last postseason. He is assertive on the puck and far stronger than he was last year.

Amazingly, Peter Laviolette said just this morning that goals would come for Jeff Carter, who was getting quality chances but not coverting. Carter proved him right less than 5 minutes into the game. A confident Jeff Carter is a dangerous Jeff Carter for the Sabres.

Oh no for Kaleta and the Sabres. Jeff Carter just scored on the PP to silence the crowd. Carter snapped a wrister that may have ticked off the stick of defenseman Mike Weber and flew past a surprised Ryan Miller. Goal, 1-0 PHI

Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said this morning that he would not be mad if his team took some early emotional penalties. hopefully he satys true to hios word because Patrick Kaleta just took a roughing penalty for cross-checking Darroll Powe to the ground as he jostled with another player in front of Ryan Miller.

Here's one reason laviolette may have went with Brian Boucher. Fans are all over him with mocking sing-song chants of his last name -- Boo-Shea -- at every whistle. maybe vet is more prepared to handle hostility than Bobrovsky.

7:05 p.m.
Dang, this place is going bizonkers. Buffalo is ready for some playoff hockey it seems. Fans are so loudand it is a sea of white pompoms. Players talked about how great crowd would be tonight and they did not oversell it. Fans delivered. Great atmosphere! Anthyems -- they paly both American and Canadian anthems here -- were fantastic. Time for Game 3.

7:02 p.m.
It's official. Jordan Leopold is in. Curious to see how much playing time he gets. Shaone Morrisonn, Andrej Sekera and Jochen Hecht are Buffalo's scratches. Sekera had a really rough Game 2 and is now back out of the lineup.

6:54 p.m.
I'm glad I'm not Peter Laviolette, although it would be pretty cool to have my name on the Stanley Cup. Can't imagine how hard it was to choose his goalie for Game 3. He had so many variables to weigh, but in the end I think he made right decision by starting Brian Boucher. The veteran saved Philadelphia's playoffs with a solid effort after a shaky Sergei Bobrovsky was pulled in the first period of Game 2. I think giving yourself the best chance to win game 3 has to take precedence over protecting the pysche of a rookie goalie. If Bobrovsky can't handle this adversity, isn't it better to know it now? You certainly don't want to plan on him being the franchise goalie so many are predicting if he can't roll with the peaks and valleys that come with playing goal in  the City of Brotherly Love, do you? With that said, I can see this subject taking on a life of its own throughout Philoadelphia's playoff run. Can't wait to see how it plays out.

6:42 p.m.
Thanks for joining me again. Coming at you from a new venue this time, the HSBC Arena, and a new series, Philadelphia vs. Buffalo. Those of you expecting Boston and Montreal content here will get their fix from our more than capable correspondent in Montreal, Arpon Basu. While that should be a good game, this one promises to be awesome. First, the series is tied 1-1, so control of the series is at take. Plus, there is a ton of intrique. Will Jordan Leopold play for Buffalo? It appears that way as he took warmups and appeared fully recovered from the broken hand that has sidelined him. How will Danny Briere, former Buffalo icon, do in his first playoff game here in his former home as a member of the Flyers. Will Buffalo be able to keep its emotions in check and stay out of the box as they tap into the enery of what should be a wild crowd at the team's first home playoff game? We'll get all these answers and more in the course of the next 3-plus hours. Fortunately, there will be a whole new slew of questions as well when Game 3 is in the books.

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