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Sabres head home with chance to clinch

by Adam Kimelman

(Sabres lead series 3-2)


Big story: Tyler Ennis' second goal of the game at 5:31 of overtime helped the Sabres to a 4-3 victory Friday in Game 5 and put them one win from advancing to the conference semifinals.

Team Scope:

So who will be the starting goalie for Game 6? Coach Peter Laviolette certainly a number of choices.

There's rookie Sergei Bobrovsky, who led the team with 28 wins in the regular season and solid in Game 1 of the series. Then there's Brian Boucher, the veteran backup who relieved Bobrovsky in Game 2 and stopped 83 of 87 shots in Games 2, 3 and 4. And then there's Michael Leighton, who backstopped the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Final last spring and stopped 20 of 21 shots after replacing Boucher less than 16 minutes into Game 5.

Laviolette wouldn't reveal his choice Saturday, but did give some insight into his thought process.

"I think as we look at that, for me it'll probably be a combination of everything," he said. "Certainly where we're at right now, how the playoffs have gone, that will factor into it probably more than how somebody played halfway through the year or the beginning of the year or last year. I think it'll be more current than anything, but the overall picture, as well."

Sabres: A lot has changed for Ennis in the last year as he's gone from inexperienced rookie to key contributor.

"Last year I just got called up at the end of the season," said Ennis. "I was just playing and enjoying it and relishing the moment. This year I'm really committed to making a difference. I have to make a difference because that's my role, I have to produce. Last year I was just enjoying the moment. This year I'm driven and really want to make a difference."

It's been a development coach Lindy Ruff has enjoyed watching.

"I just know your first year is tough," he said. "It's a grind. If you look at the last three months, every game has been a game that has meant so much to our team. We really couldn't fall flat for a period of time and for young players adjusting to that pressure on a daily basis is not easy. I think he's got over the hump, the energy's back in his game. You could see (in Game 5), he was dangerous every time he was on the ice."

Who's hot: Flyers forward Claude Giroux had a pair of assists in Game 5 and leads the team in scoring with 5 points. … Sabres defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani scored his first Stanley Cup Playoff goal in Game 5, and is tied for second in postseason scoring among defensemen with 5 points.

Injury report: Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger (hand) and forwards Jeff Carter (lower body) and Andreas Nodl (upper body) are day to day. … Sabres forward Jason Pominville (lower body) is out for Game 6. Defensemen Andrej Sekera (upper body) and Shaone Morrisonn (upper body) are questionable for Game 6. Forward Derek Roy (quad), who hasn't played since Dec. 23, is close to returning, as is forward Jochen Hecht (upper body), who has been out since March 29.

Stat pack: The last three times the Flyers have gone to the Stanley Cup Final (1997, 1987, 1985), they've lost in the first round of the playoffs the following year.

Puck drop: Boucher said he had no interest in re-watching his personal horror reel from Game 5.

"I know what happened," he said. "The first one I was anticipating him (Ennis) throwing it to the front of the net for a pass, he ended up shooting it on net. Whether he meant to do that, I don't know. The second one, I wouldn't play it any differently from behind the net. To me that's just bad luck and maybe a really good play by him (Thomas Vanek) to bank it off the back of my knee. The only thing I do wish I would have done maybe is I had a bad read on the dump and maybe played the dump when it was coming in. I thought it would stay in that area where I couldn't go play it. Maybe if I get out and play it, it negates everything, the puck never ends up going behind the net and never ends up getting into that situation. That's woulda-coulda-shoulda on a lot of things. But the first one was a bad read for sure. I know that.

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