April 8, 2007
The real hockey season begins now.
The Buffalo Sabres wrapped up the 2006-07 regular season on Sunday afternoon with a 4-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wachovia Center.
Buffalo led 3-2 entering the third period, but goals by Mike Knuble and Mike Richards in a five minute span to open the final frame handed Buffalo their 22nd loss of the season.
The New York Islanders, led by former Sabres coach Ted Nolan, will be the Sabres next opponent, as the Islanders' took the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference will a 3-2 shootout victory on Sunday afternoon. Jason Pominville
, Thomas Vanek
and Derek Roy
each scored for the Sabres. Ty Conklin took the loss turning away 29-of-33 shots he faced.
Former Sabre Martin Biron won his first career start against Buffalo with 27 saves. The jovial netminder was drafted by the Sabres in the first round (16th overall) of the 1995 NHL Entry Draft, but was traded to Philadelphia at the trade deadline this season in exchange for a second-round pick in 2007.
On a quick transition, Maxim Afinogenov slipped a centering pass to Vanek, who beat Biron high on the netminder's glove side to record his 43rd goal of the season and give Buffalo a 1-0 lead at 10:21 of the first.
Knuble fires a long pass springing Simon Gagne on a breakaway, where his backhander into the top-right corner of the net made evened the score just 54 seconds after Vanek's goal.
Stefan Ruzicka collected Braydon Coburn's rebound behind the goal line and stuffed the puck five-hole on Conklin to give Philadelphia their first lead of the game, 2-1, at 2:04 of the second.
Pominville recorded his 34th goal of the season redirecting Chris Drury's wristshot off the left post, only to have Derian Hatcher push the puck over the line at 15:32 of the second.
A flurry of activity in front of Biron regained the Buffalo lead with just 11 seconds remaining in the second.
Vanek collected a loose puck alongside the net and slipped it back to Roy at the right post for the center's 21st of the season. The goal extended Roy's scoring streak to six games, eight points (5+3).
Philadelphia took the victory with two goals in the opening half of the third period off two plays by the veteran Knuble.
The 34-year-old right winger muscled past Ales Kotalik on a faceoff and snapped the loose puck off Conklin's stick to even the score 3-3 at 3:42.
Collecting a loose puck in Buffalo's zone, Knuble created a scoring opportunity for one of his younger teammates by cutting behind the net and attempting a backhanded wraparound with a Philadelphia man advantage.
The shot was turned away by Conklin but the 22-year-old Richards converted on the rebound to record his 10th goal of the season at 8:45.
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