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BIRON: Campbell's hit on Umberger set tone for 2006 playoff run

Former Sabres goaltender Martin Biron recalls the big moment in the Sabres playoff series against Flyers

by Martin Biron @martybiron43 /


We thought we were going to play the New York Rangers in the first round. I remember talking to Jay McKee about going to visit some museums on our off-days, but the Philadelphia Flyers won and the Rangers lost on that last day of the 2005-06 regular season, so we were going to play the Flyers in Round 1. 

I knew about the rivalry against the Flyers from the late '90s and early 2000s. Most of the guys on the team were not with the Sabres back then. 

However, it didn't take long for bad blood to brew between these players, who maybe didn't know about John LeClair's goal that went through the outside of the net on Hasek in 2000 or Steve Shields and Garth Snow fighting by the benches in 1997. 

Thank you, Brian Campbell, for reigniting the rivalry.

We are in overtime and it's already tense inside HSBC Arena. Game 1 is so important. And then, all of a sudden, Brian Campbell hits R.J. Umberger with this crushing check that left Umberger laying on the ice. The building went crazy!!! 

You kind of feel bad for the guy down on the ice, especially now since I played with R.J. in Philly a couple of years later. He is a great guy and teammate, but right then, you knew OUR fans were behind us no matter what. 

It wasn't easy during the bankruptcy year to feel that way. The building was often half empty and we were losing a lot. But now, we were back and the fans were right there for us. 

Daniel Briere scored in double-OT and we ended up winning the series in six games, embarrassing the Flyers with a 7-1 win in Philadelphia to send them on vacation.

This is the series that started a memorable run to the Eastern Conference Finals and we'll revisit each victory this week on "Sabres Classics" on MSG at 8 p.m. 

I was able to sit down with "Cheese," Danny and J-P Dumont for a brand-new episode of "Beyond Blue and Gold" where we restarted our old card game and shared stories from that year. You can watch it right here on and Friday night as part of a special presentation on MSG: 

Video: Beyond Blue and Gold: Scary Good (The 2006 Playoffs)

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