Gritting their teeth to overcome the crippling effects of poor goaltending, some how, some way, the Flyers are coming home for Game 7. And hidden under the cloud of poor personnel decisions, backstop philosophies and power play inefficiency, the Flyers are winning with pure, unadulterated willpower.
“We’ve shown heart and character from the onset of the season,” Chris Pronger told reporters in Buffalo. “Went through a lot of ups-and-downs and come through in the clutch. It happened again today.
“It’s the drive and desire to win.”
Is anyone surprised by the Flyers’ current scenario?
Falling behind 3-2 in the opening round series against the seventh-seeded Buffalo Sabres, is anyone shocked or befuddled that the Flyers, this core group of players, has taken the difficult road and subsequently have placed their backs against the wall once again?
Claude Giroux isn’t.
“We don’t do things around here according to plan,” he said after Friday’s Game 5 loss. “We just find a way to get it done. This is one situation that we got to find a way to get it done.”
VOORHEES, N.J. — The Buffalo Sabres lit a fire under the Flyers at the tail end of Wednesday’s 1-0 loss, as Paul Gaustad dropped the gloves with James van Riemsdyk and Nathan Gerbe threw a going-away hit on Kimmo Timonen after the final whistle.
On Thursday, it was Sabres’ coach Lindy Ruff’s turn.
Winning in the post season comes down to production. If one team’s best players out-produce the other, the series is usually there for the taking.
It’s a simple formula.
Yet, while the Flyers’ big scorers have produced nine goals in two games, the Sabres are still looking for answers. And that’s why, despite having the better goaltender in Ryan Miller and holding the Flyers to a power play efficiency of 11.1%, the Sabres are down 2-1 in the series and holding on for dear life.
It was like deja vu.
Trailing 3-2 early in the third period of Game 3, the Buffalo Sabres earned 1:15 of 5-on-3 time thanks to a Nikolay Zherdev hold and a Darroll Powe cross-checking call.
But just like the Flyers’ Game 1 two-man advantage, for the Sabres, it was the turning point of the contest. And just like for the Flyers, not converting proved costly.
For nearly every team in the playoffs, home-ice advantage has been a crucial and desired aspect in gaining an edge on the opposition. However, for the Flyers, their strategic advantage comes as the visitors.
“I think when we get away we just kind of relax,” said Jeff Carter. “When you’re on the road there isn’t much to worry about except for going out and playing hockey. For whatever reason, we seem to play our best hockey on the road.”
With less than two minutes left and Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals tied at three, it became painfully obvious that Jeff Carter was not a playoff finisher.
With a chance to win the contest and send the series back to Chicago for Game 7, Carter grabbed the puck, swung around the Blackhawks net and fired one of his many wrist shots right into Antti Niemi.
The Blackhawks went on to win in overtime.