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Roy returns, Boucher in net for decisive Game 7

by Adam Kimelman

(Best-of-seven series tied, 3-3)


Big story:
Ville Leino's goal 4:43 into overtime helped the Flyers rally from a 3-1 first period deficit for a 5-4 victory in Game 6. Brian Boucher again was successful in relief in the Philadelphia net, stopping 24 shots.
Team Scope:

Sabres: Derek Roy told reporters he's ready to go for Game 7 against the Flyers on Tuesday. Roy hasn't played since needing surgery to repair a torn left quadriceps suffered Dec. 23.
"It's great. I've put in a lot of hard work," Roy told reporters in Buffalo. "Give credit to the coaching staff and the trainers and everyone who has helped me along the way. It's been a tough road, four months, and I'm back and I'm ready to go. It's going to feel good."
Roy said he wouldn't be playing if he wasn't 100-percent healthy, but as far as how much ice time he gets, that could be dictated by his level of endurance.
"We'll see how it goes," he said. "I think it'll be a lot different, a lot more difficult going out there (in a game). But we've worked hard at it, skated really hard to get my stamina up, my endurance up. Worked hard on the ice and off the ice. Hopefully I'm ready to go and jump back like I did before."
Roy had 35 points in 35 regular-season games prior to his injury, and his return couldn't come at a more important time for the Sabres. Right wing Jason Pominville will miss Game 7 with a lower-body injury, and center Tim Connolly will not play due to an upper-body injury suffered on a hit by Flyers captain Mike Richards during Game 6.

Flyers: Brian Boucher has played 11 seasons in the NHL, but this will be just the second Game 7 he'll start. The first was 11 years ago, for the Flyers against the New Jersey Devils in the 2000 Eastern Conference Finals.
He lost that game 2-1, but he was a 23-year-old rookie who had the look of a future star. Now, he's a 34-year-old who says he's learned from his past experiences.
"I think what's changed is the fact that there's a lot of years in between then and now, there's a lot of experience gained," Boucher said. "I feel like I'm a better goalie today than I was back then. The fact that I was fresh-faced and had a lot of energy and a lot of spunk, I think that was what carried me at that time. Now I feel like I'm a smarter goaltender, learned a lot. Maybe that'll help out."
He added another advantage to being older is knowing the proper way to channel the emotions that come with playing in a Game 7.
"You look forward to the game," he said, "but you've got to learn to just relax and chill out on off-days and try to get your mind away from it as best you can, get your rest, know that tomorrow is when the switch goes on. You think about the game today, but I think it's important to get away from it a little bit and get some rest."
Who's hot:
Sabres forward Thomas Vanek had his second 2-goal game of the series in Game 6 and is tied for second in the League with 5 playoff goals. … Flyers forward James van Riemsdyk has goals in two straight games, has 3 in the series, and his 38 shots lead all players in the playoffs.
Injury report: Connolly and Pominville are out for the Sabres. Defensemen Andrej Sekera (upper body) and forward Jochen Hecht (upper body) skated during Monday's practice but are questionable for Game 7. Defenseman Shaone Morrisonn (lower-body) did not practice Monday and also is questionable. Forwards Mike Grier and Patrick Kaleta also didn't practice Monday, but coach Lindy Ruff did not update their status. … Flyers forwards Jeff Carter (lower body) and Andreas Nodl (upper body) are day-to-day.
Stat pack:
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Flyers are the first team to start three different goaltenders in one series since the 2004 Vancouver Canucks started Dan Cloutier, Johan Hedberg and Alex Auld in a first-round series against the Calgary Flames.
Puck drop: Ruff was asked by Buffalo News columnist Jerry Sullivan if all the injuries remind him of the problems the Sabres suffered in their run to the 2006 Eastern Conference Finals.
"Yeah, but I wrote a different script to this one, Jerry," Ruff said. "We've got a fairy-tale ending to this one.
Sullivan responded, "Derek scores the winner."
"That's right," Ruff said. "That's right. I've already got that one. I can almost work at The News -- I wouldn't want to, but …"
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