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Thursday, April 14, 2011
1 - 0
FINAL 1 2 3 T
Sabres 0 0 1 1
Flyers 0 0 0 0
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Tonight’s opening game of the Flyers-Sabres Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series had a playoff feel to it in plenty of ways than just a 1-0 score.

The 1-0 score however is at the forefront, because the tight checking game and strong forechecking on both sides were overshadowed by the goaltending duel between Sergei Bobrovsky and Ryan Miller.

As with any playoff game there needs to be an ending and ultimately a winner. Game 1 went to Miller, who posted 35 saves which included 16 in the second period alone.

“Well I was going to say that I thought we played pretty well tonight,” said Kimmo Timonen. “Obviously [Ryan] Miller was pretty good tonight.  You never want to lose a game, but if you want to take anything out of it I thought we played pretty well.  But, somehow we obviously have to score goals.”

Bobrovsky certainly answered all the critics as the starter for tonight’s game, stopping 24 of 25 shots, including several post-to-post saves and a few redirections in front of his crease.

His only blemish was a rebound that Patrick Kaleta cashed in on six minutes into the third period. Prior to that Bobrovsky had stopped all 19 shots he faced through the first two periods.

“Bob [Sergei Bobrovsky] made the saves he needed to, and on the goal, it was just a good play by them to get a puck on the net,” said Matt Carle. “It’s a tough play for a rebound to kick out like that for the defenseman.  I think we can take a page out of their book in that sense and try to do that next game.”

Laviolette // Briere // van Riemsdyk
* The Flyers directed 74 shots towards the Buffalo net (35 on net, 16 that were blocked, and 23 that missed) compared to 36 by Buffalo (25 on net, 4 that were blocked, 7 that missed).  On March 5, the Flyers directed 83 shots towards the Buffalo net (36 on goal, 29 blocked, 18 missed) in a 5-3 loss.

* The Flyers recorded 40 hits tonight.  That equals their regular season high set at Dallas on March 19.

* The Flyers suffered their first playoff shutout since a 6-0 loss at Pittsburgh in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Final in 2008 on May 18.

* Patrick Kaleta’s goal came 45:56 into the game.  It marked the longest period of time without a goal being scored in a Flyers playoff game since April 17, 2002, when the Flyers beat Ottawa 1-0 in Game 1 of an Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series on a goal by Ruslan Fedotenko 7:47 into the first overtime (67:47).

* Andrej Meszaros recorded the most ice time for the Flyers in the loss (25:24), while Danny Briere had the most ice-time among Flyers’ forwards (21:11).

* Andreas Nodl had the most hits for the Flyers in Game 1 (6).

* The Flyers have lost the first game of a seven-round series 35 times in their history and re now 30-35 all-time in opening games.  They are 14-20 in the previous 34 series in which they have lost Game 1.

* In the previous eight playoff series between the Flyers and Buffalo, the team that won Game 1 has gone on to win the series.

* In the past three seasons, the Flyers have won three series in which they lost the first game – 2008 ECQF vs. Washington, 2008 ECSF vs. Montreal, 2010 ECSF vs. Boston.

“Experience is something you have to draw upon, not only throughout the year, but in playoffs.  We can’t be discouraged by what happened or by losing a game.  We knew we obviously weren’t going to run the table and have constant success.  We have to fight through things and we’ve proven that we can in the past.  It’s another situation where we just have to be prepared for Saturday’s match.”
     -- Mike Richards

“I thought he played pretty well.  The saves he had to make, he made them.  Like I said, we got to score goals here if we want to win.  I’m sure that’s the topic tomorrow.”
    -- Kimmo Timonen

“I thought we had some good chances but obviously they had a good game. It’s the playoffs. The margin for error is so small and we showed that tonight although we had some good chances. They made a bang-bang play and it’s a 1-0 game and that’s it.”
    -- James van Riemsdyk

“Obviously I didn’t like the score.  Ya know we need to win hockey games, that’s what it comes down to when you’re in the playoffs, it’s not like the regular season where you can be happy with the process.  The process was good, the score board wasn’t, so we just need to continue to push.”
    -- Peter Laviolette

Several Flyers could easily be chosen for this honor, but James van Riemsdyk takes it home. JVR tied the team lead in shots on goal (6) during nearly 19 minutes of time-on-ice (18:29), including 3:44 of time on the Flyers’ power play.

Van Riemsdyk led the charge on many Flyers rushes throughout the evening and had several takeaways from the Sabres, even he was officially credited with one.

Tonight’s turning point came with the lone goal of the evening. Kaleta’s tally at 5:56 of the third period gave the Sabres the lead they were looking for to sit back and make a patient defensive stand.

The Sabres allowed just nine shots on net in the third period and killed off a late penalty without allowing a single shot on net during the Flyers power play.

UTZ PIC OF THE NIGHT: Sergei Bobrovsky prior to the start of Game 1

Sabres 1, Flyers 0
Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Ryan Miller stopped a shot from his knees and with six players in the crease. He saved one with Buffalo down two men. Any way Philadelphia tried to attack him, Miller never buckled.

He was perfect in net and the Sabres took quick control of the series.

Miller stopped 35 shots for his second career postseason shutout and Patrick Kaleta scored to lift the Buffalo Sabres to a 1-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference playoff series Thursday night.

"It's important to establish that we can skate with these guys," Miller said. "We like where we're at, but that team over there has a lot of fight, and we'll have to be ready for them."

Miller stopped every shot under all types of pressure and carried the Sabres to the clutch opening win. The teams have met eight times in the postseason and the Game 1 winner won the series each time.

Kaleta snapped the scoreless tie early in the third period when he powered a rebound past rookie Sergei Bobrovsky.