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Sabres' rookies end Flyers' win streak

by John McGourty / NHL.com
PHILADELPHIA -- With a little help from a pair of former first-round draft picks, the Buffalo Sabres ended the Philadelphia Flyers' five-game winning streak with a 3-2 victory Saturday night at the Wachovia Center.

Tyler Ennis scored his first NHL goal and Tyler Myers added an assist for the Sabres, who have won three straight.

Right from the start, Buffalo had the edge in play and that led to the game's first goal at 3:11. After Philadelphia's Daniel Carcillo took an offensive-zone, post-whistle cross-checking penalty, the Sabres had several good chances before Thomas Vanek ripped a shot from the slot past Ray Emery for his sixth goal of the season.

"We played last night so we made a few adjustments to our system," Sabres forward Jason Pominville said. "We wanted a good start, get on them early. We got the lead, so we were able to do that. We limited them to 12 shots through 35 minutes and did a good job. Later on, they came hard and gave us a tough time. I don't know if that was fatigue on our side, but we stuck with it and came out with two points that were huge."

Ennis, playing in his first NHL game, got the Sabres' second goal at 14:50 of the second period. Patrick Kaleta fed Tim Kennedy on the right boards near the goal line, and Ennis was waiting behind the net. Ennis broke to his left and collected Kennedy's pass, turned and beat Emery from a sharp angle for his first NHL goal.

Ennis ranks second on the AHL Portland Pirates, Buffalo's affiliate, with 6 goals and 7 assists for 13 points, and is third among AHL rookie scorers. He was promoted to Buffalo due to injuries to Drew Stafford and Mike Grier.

"It was a special night. I got in just in time for the game," Ennis said. "I had a lot of enjoyment and playing with Tim Connolly and Thomas Vanek makes it a lot easier. The goal was a pretty awesome feeling.

"When I got the call, I was really excited and a little nervous I was trying to focus and concentrate on working hard. Tim Kennedy had the puck and we were down low, battling, and he sent it backward through the D-man's legs behind the net. I walked out and threw it on net because Emery looked a little off-balance. I got lucky. It bounced off him and went in."

Chris Pronger got the Flyers to 2-1 at 2:43 of the third period as the Flyers began taking control. Jeff Carter, near the goal line on the left side, fed Pronger at the left point and he ripped a slap shot through Ryan Miller.

Buffalo regained a two-goal advantage at 7:25 when Adam Mair, placed on waivers earlier this week, won a faceoff and Myers tipped it back to Paul Gaustad, whose shot eluded Emery for another power-play goal.

The Flyers went on the power play when Vanek slashed Mike Richards while chasing him up-ice into the neutral zone. But the Flyers lost the man advantage when Briere retaliated on Chris Butler's cross-checking penalty in Buffalo's zone. Briere slashed Butler up high and he went for four minutes while Butler got two minutes.

"I don't know if (the penalties) were retaliatory tonight," Richards said. "I thought it was some bad luck. Penalties with sticks breaking is just bad luck. You're not going to get a good batch of sticks every time. It's disappointing, but I thought we played well. The effort was there, which is encouraging. We never quit. The game could've gone either way."

The Flyers dominated during the 4-on-4, but Buffalo put heavy pressure on Emery who did well to grab the loose puck. Four seconds later, Gaustad beat the Flyers' goalie.

Philadelphia got to within a goal at 9:50 when Carter muscled in a goal from the crease on a hard-working shift by Richards, but the Flyers failed to notch the equalizer.

"I think the game had a lot of intensity," Flyers coach John Stevens said. "You have two teams who are really fighting for position in the conference. I think we made it harder there by playing catch-up with the penalties in the first period, and I just think we got frustrated. Then we allowed them to get a little momentum, but I really thought we responded in a good way. We did everything but tie the hockey game."



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