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Sabres Edge Flyers 1-0 in Game One of Playoffs

Over the last quarter of the regular season, there were question marks surrounding the Philadelphia Flyers and their commitment to winning. If they weren’t sitting comfortably in first place, they were at least bouncing around the top spot for such a long time that people wondered if they would have anything left in the tank for the postseason.

Tonight’s game one loss to the Buffalo Sabres was a good indicator that the heart of this team is still committed to hoisting Lord Stanley, even if the scoreboard wasn’t in their favor.

“I think a lot of people had questions how we were going to respond after our February and March,” said Sean O’Donnell. “Even though we didn’t win tonight, I think everybody would agree this is a big difference from the way we played in the last twenty games.”

The first question of the game was goaltending. Buffalo’s superstar Ryan Miller actually had worse stats than Sergei Bobrovsky when compared head-to-head, but his career record obviously paints him as the better goaltender. He outplayed Bob tonight, stopping all 35 shots he saw, but Bobrovsky carried himself just fine between the pipes. His puck handling behind the net was not the problem his teammates considered it to be halfway through the season.

The team was without the services of veteran playoff machine Chris Pronger, which would probably have helped with the powerplay that went 0-for-5 tonight. It wasn’t much of a surprise when it was announced by the organization that he was day-to-day, as his “setback” earlier in the month suggested his wrist issues were worse than people thought.

The team did just fine defensively, though, and was impressive thoughout the game. Both Matt Carle and Danny Syvret received boisterous cheers from the crowd after making similar diving plays to block shots.

The offense wasn’t completely anemic, but the general consensus after the game was that the team needs to hammer home second and third chances in front of the net to be successful, similar to how Patrick Kaleta rebounded the game winner off a shot from Paul Gaustad. Miller’s calm control over the puck certainly had something to do with those few rebounds, but the team wasn’t playing desperate enough in front of the net to get those garbage goals.

There isn’t a whole lot to be disappointed about with how the Flyers played tonight, but the team knows it doesn’t have much time to correct their problems.

“It’s the playoffs,” said James Van Riemsdyk. “The margin of error is so small.”

The first round of the 2011 NHL playoffs continues on Saturday. For in-game updates and post-game videos, you can follow me on twitter (@JoshJanet).

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Profile photo of Josh Janet Posted by on Apr 15 2011. Filed under BREAKING NEWS, Flyers, News, NHL. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

13 Comments for “Sabres Edge Flyers 1-0 in Game One of Playoffs”

  1. To Josh,
    I am not sure who any fan cannot be disappointed in losing a home opener
    in the 1st Round of the Playoffs (getting shout out also) to a team that they are much more talented than… The Flyers finished as a #2 Seed for a reason as did the SAbres a #7 Seed..Now the Pressure is really on in GAme 2 for if the FLyers falls 2-0 to the Sabres, it;s all over and time for the Golf CLubs..
    Saying they played hard or the performance was more consistent than how they have played the last 6-8 weeks doesn’t cut it for me..There are no Moral Victories in the Playoffs, you play to win the game and the Flyers fell short
    Probably the only Positive, is the Flyers Goalie “Bobs” played very well too, which gets lost in the shutout by Miller. But if the Flyers don’t jump on Miller early and often in Game 2, he is the type of Goalie that can get in a xone and play outstanding for 3-4 games stretches and the FLyers may end up with 5-6 GOals this entire series which won’t be enough to advance..

  2. Yeah, I actually agree with Paulman that the only good out of this game was Bob’s “good enough to win” play. I see the Sabres possibly winning the next game but see the Flyers taking the series in 6 as their offense starts taking shape again. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them throw a 5 or 6-spot on Miller in one of these contests. Our boys are quite capable of that.

  3. The Sabres were a better team the last twenty games then the flyers were at any point this season. The final standings are not the only thing that matters. They were bit by the injury bug, and are now playing at their full potential. They took too many penalties, and still got shutout.(Buffalo) You cant win if you dont score. There is a problem when your coach says you spent most of practice working on the PP and you manage to get 0 goals in 5 attempts. As far as how good the defense was, The Phillies had more shutouts last night then the flyers all season.

  4. I am always amazed how this Flyer Organization continues to get a “free pass” from the local media and fans.. They have one of the NHL highest payrolls every year, big name players and outside of last years improbable run to the Stanley Cup FInals (thanx to the CAps/Pens getting knocked out early) what has this franchise won over th last 15-20 years… I guess because it’s Ed Snider and a bunch of Canadiens, everybody loves them and see no fault,no hurry to call them out.. It’s always like, “We’re disappointed, but there’s next season to feel good about” … This would never fly for the Eagles Franchise..

  5. I think the Flyers looked like the better team most of the game. Ryan Miller was the difference (hence the Vezina trophy displayed proudly at his house). However, The Flyers NEED to capitalize when they get 5 PP chance, especially with a 5 on 3 chance in there. Overall, I’m not happy with the outcome, but I’m not disappointed.

  6. Gotta agree with paulman here … everyone is correct that the Flyers lost last night because Ryan Miller is an amazing goalie. But why is no one asking where the Flyers’ Ryan Miller is?? Why has this organ-eye-zation gone for an astonishing 20 years or more without having a truly great goaltender? There hasn’t been one guy between the pipes for the Flyers since Hextall that fans could look at and go, “Now there’s a guy we can count on. He’s got the goods to lead us to the promised land.”

    It’s a disgrace and I’ll never understand why the Flyer Faithful are so willing to accept this inexplicable flaw on the part of team management.

  7. I hear you Ian, but at this point, I think the Flyers decided to tie their money up on more quality forwards and defense instead of 7 mill a year for a goalie (which would be 1/8 of the cap i think). Is it wrong, is it wright? I’m not sure. Chicago won the cup with mediocre goal-tending and the Flyers were right there with them in the Finals with the same. Both teams beat other teams with superb goalies, so I don’t know if that’s the most important aspect anymore. However, if you are going to put your money into more quality forwards and defense…they better produce more that 0 goals in the first game of a playoff series.

  8. also…it’s not easy to find and/or get a top notch goalie. But you’re right…20 years is a bit long. Maybe Bob will do…he’s only 24. Luongo wasn’t lights out his first couple years, but was decent. Tim Thomas was slightly above average until later on in his career. Giguere was good for the early part of his career and then faded. Bryzgalov hasn’t been as stellar as people thought he would be (but he is playing on the coyotes). and on and on and on

  9. the Flyers need to stop trying to be fancy with their passing and shoot the damn puck on net and crash it…. Miller is a star and you can rattle him by crashing the net! SHOOT SHOOT SHOOT!!

  10. I don’t think I’m “going easy” on the team even though they lost last night. The truth is, the Sabres are not some push over team because they are in 7th place. This is the playoffs. You aren’t going to see the Flyers blow them over 5-0. There were certainly areas where this team can improve on Saturday, but the problems that plagued the team in March were not present here.

    The team definitely needs to shoot more. They waited too long and they’re all aware of it.

    Finally, Paulman, its a best of seven series. The Flyers didn’t panic and “get ready for golf” last year when they were down 0-3 against the Bruins. Why should we all be counting this team out after one game?

  11. Last years team was great, full of heart,fight and a never say die attitude..
    This years does not have the same desire for some reason.. Too many players standing around waiting for someone else to make a play instead of making it happen.. They definitely miss Pronger, but they have not played good Hockey in 2 months and you just can’t turn it on because of the playoffs starting ..

    ..

  12. i gotta disagree paulman…did you even watch the whole game last night? JVR, Richards, Giroux, Leino, Briere, Hartnell, Versteeg, Kimmo, Cobourn, and on and on all showed up and were not waiting around for someone else to make a play. They were hitting, fore checking, crashing the net, back checking, and playing better than they have for the past 2 months. Of course…none of that counts if you can’t score, but I’m just disagreeing with you about their lack of desire. It was clearly evident in last nigh

  13. I saw from about mid 2nd Period to the end and I do agree that their energy level and effort was there, they just waited too long to shoot at times and did not crowd the Sabres Goalie/Net enough but it was a exciting game.. Goals will be hard to come by for either team so a quick start is paramount to whoever moves on.

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