Sabres pull even with Flyers
BUFFALO, N.Y. — A night that started with promise ended in disaster for the Philadelphia Flyers.
Instead of taking command of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series, they dropped a tense 1-0 decision to feisty Buffalo on Wednesday night at the HSBC Arena, and, in the process, lost the services of their leading scorer, Jeff Carter.
In addition, captain Mike Richards may face a suspension after being accessed a five-minute penalty for elbowing Patrick Kaleta in the head late in the second period.
Jason Pominville scored midway through the first period, and Ryan Miller notched his second shutout in the series, which is tied at two games apiece. Game 5 is Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
Highlighting Miller’s 32-save night was a sensational save on ex-teammate Danny Briere with 8 minutes, 50 seconds left.
Briere, all alone in front, made a series of dekes before Miller gloved his forehand shot from the goalmouth to preserve the 1-0 lead.
Carter, who had 36 goals in the regular season, left the game with 2:12 left in the first period, apparently suffering a knee injury. He did not return.
The Flyers masterfully killed the five-minute major to Richards that stretched into the third period.
Miller made a nice save on Kris Versteeg with 9:37 left, the hellacious one on Briere, and a clutch stick stop on Richards’ rebound with 5:03 remaining, igniting bows and “Mil-ler” chants from the loud, sellout crowd.
Shortly before Miller reached his stick out to stop Richards, Brian Boucher stoned Tyler Ennis on a breakaway.
Miller, who had a shutout in Buffalo’s 1-0 win in Game 1, was pitching another one heading into the third period.
In the first 40 minutes, Miller was both very good (21 saves) and lucky (a second-period shot by Darroll Powe hit iron). He was tested the most by the blossoming James van Riemsdyk, who had six shots in the first two periods.
The Flyers’ power play struggled in the first two periods, going 0 for 3 and managing just four shots. At that point, their power play was 2 for 21 in the series.
With just 2.8 seconds remaining in the second, Richards was given a five-minute penalty for elbowing Kaleta in the head, giving the Flyers an uphill battle as they tried to overcome a 1-0 deficit.