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Flyers, Sabres battle to grab 3-2 series edge

by Adam Kimelman

(Best-of-seven series tied, 2-2)


Big story:
Ryan Miller stopped all 32 shots the Flyers threw at him Wednesday to pick up his second 1-0 shutout of the series as the Sabres evened the series at 2-2. Jason Pominville scored the game's lone goal.
Team Scope:

Sabres: Generally Miller is immune from criticism from loyal Buffalo fans, but after allowing eight goals in Games 2 and 3 against Philadelphia, there was a contingent of Sabres faithful who suggested Miller wasn't at his best and maybe backup Jhonas Enroth, who played well down the stretch while Miller recovered from an upper-body injury, game the team the best chance of winning.
His 32-save effort in the 1-0 win in Game 4 certainly silenced all the critics.
Not that any of it bothered Miller.
"I'm happy to help the team get a win," he told reporters following Wednesday's game. "I'm not going to pay too much attention to anybody who's talking about my game right now. I really don't care. It's the furthest thing from my mind. I want to contribute and help the guys. I don't need to listen to all of the BS that's out there from people who don't know how to play goalie. I really don't give a [expletive]."

Flyers: There's a chance defenseman Chris Pronger could make his playoff debut for Game 5.
Pronger skated during Thursday's optional practice, and did puckhandling and shooting drills, including full slap shots. is reporting a decision on Pronger's availability for Game 5 will be made following Friday's morning skate.
Pronger hasn't played since March 8 while recovering from surgery to repair a broken right hand.
Pronger led the League in average ice time per game during last spring's playoffs and led the team in that category during the regular season. Considering it would be his first game in more than six weeks, could coach Peter Laviolette limit Pronger's ice time without affecting his effectiveness? Laviolette loathes answering questions about his lineup, but he did answer what a reporter phrased as a "hypothetical" question.
"Can Chris Pronger play in a game in a limited role and be a factor in the game? Yes," Laviolette said. "You asked a hypothetical question and I gave you a hypothetical answer."
Who's hot:
Miller is the first goalie since Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff in 2004 against Detroit to post a pair of 1-0 shutouts in the same series. His two shutouts double his previous postseason total. … Since relieving starter Sergei Bobrovsky in Game 2, Flyers goalie Brian Boucher has stopped 83 of 87 shots for a .954 save percentage.
Injury report: Sabres forward Derek Roy (quad) is making progress, with the Buffalo News reporting there's a chance he could play later in the series. Defensemen Shaone Morrisonn and Andrej Sekera remain questionable with upper-body injuries. … Flyers center Jeff Carter is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury that is reporting as a right knee injury. Forward Andreas Nodl is day to day with an upper-body injury. Defenseman Nick Boynton, who hasn't played in the series, is fighting the flu.
Stat pack: Miller, Dominik Hasek and Bob Sauve now are the only goalies in the Sabres' 40-year history to register multiple shutouts in one playoff series.
Puck drop: Expect an already physical series to feature even more hitting in Game 5.
"I'm expecting us (Friday) to come hard -- really hard," Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen said. "I don't know how many hits we have, but I'm going to say we get double tomorrow."
That's fine, said Sabres coach Lindy Ruff. He expects that kind of talk this time of year.
"That's the playoffs. It's the playoff intensity," Ruff said. "It's going to be decided by the emotion on the ice and how hard you want to play and how hard you want to compete and how dirty you want to get. I accept the fact that the emotion is going to be ramped up real high in their game and I want to see what players come to the top of that."

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