Flyers resilient once again

Ville Leino gave the Flyers new life in overtime as the Flyers survive to fight another day. (AP)

Ville Leino gave the Flyers new life in overtime as the Flyers survive to fight another day. (AP)

For those who celebrate it, Easter is the day where Jesus rose from the dead. The Philadelphia Flyers celebrated in the same fashion Sunday as they “rose from the dead” two times in Game 6 and have now forced the series back to Philadelphia for a Game 7 with their 5-4 overtime win over the Buffalo Sabres.

The Flyers faced elimination heading into Sunday afternoon’s game after falling in overtime to go down 3-2 in the series. Michael Leighton made his first playoff start since the Stanley Cup Finals, and it wasn’t the start he had pictured.

Allowing 2 goals on the first four shots and another one before the end of the period, Leighton was replaced between periods by Brian Boucher, who was yanked in the first the game before. The Flyers found themselves trailing 3-1 even though they out-shot the Sabres, 17-8.

It seems that some of last season’s magic and resilience has stayed inside the Flyers locker room. For the second straight game, they erased the deficit created by questionable goaltending in the first and tied the game at 3-all.

Not so quick, though, as once again the Sabres took the lead from Nathan Gerbe that looked to have deflected off Sean O’Donnell’s stick and past Boucher’s waving glove.

Danny Briere fired up the team before the third with a speech somewhere along the lines of, “I’m not ready for it to end.” The speech was so inspiring it even got head coach Peter Laviolette fired up.

It worked as the Flyers were able to dig down deep again and tied the game at the 10:43 mark of the third period and out-shot the Sabres 14-6. The team kept up their determination, and it paid off in overtime. Kris Versteeg scooped back the puck after his initial shot was blocked and sent it towards Ryan Miller where it deflected off Mike Richards and landed in front of Ville Leino. After missing the first attempt to slide it into the net, Leino connected on the second try and sent the Flyers into a frenzy as they beat elimination for the first time this season after accomplishing the same feat four times last year.

It was reported by Philadelphia’s NBC 10 that Buffalo’s pest, Patrick Kaleta, was at it again Sunday when he made personal comments about Briere and Scott Hartnell‘s divorces, which led to Briere’s locker room speech. The comments must have lit fires to the two as Briere scorched his former team for 2 goals and Hartnell scored the game-tying one.

Richards was the center of controversy in the game as he pushed Tim Connolly, who has had concussions in the past, into the boards during the second period, creating a 5-on-3 opportunity for the Sabres which they could not capitalize on. Richards was assessed a two-minute minor for boarding, but the Sabres and head coach Lindy Ruff are calling for his suspension, but they seem to be the only ones seeing it that way.

From ESPN’s EJ Hradek:

EJ_Hradek

From TSN’s Bob McKenzie:

Bob_Mckenzie

Whether you agree or disagree, it still does not erase the fact the Sabres had a golden opportunity to dispose of the Flyers and couldn’t get the job done. But let’s not also take away from the Flyers who are clearly showing they will never give up hope on winning the Stanley Cup.

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Categories: Ice Hockey, NHL, Sports, Stanley Cup Playoffs

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