Let's quickly go over Thursday night's Game 1 between the Buffalo Sabres and Philadelphia Flyers. Buffalo won the game, 1-0, and now holds a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series.
One team took 36 shot attempts, including 25 on net, four that were blocked and seven that were blocked. The other team took a whopping 74 attempts towards the net, including 35 that were on net, 16 that were blocked and 23 that missed. If you looked at those numbers on a typical night, you'd assume that the second team was the one that came out on top.
Ah, not the case. The Flyers essentially dominated from start to finish, but a failure to capitalize on the power play and a big rebound that found the stick of Patrick Kaleta in the second period ultimately costed the East's No. 2 seed the game and home-ice advantage in the series.
We mentioned that power play failure, and the turning point of the game really felt like it came after the Sabres killed a 5-on-3 chance in the third period. Flyers defenseman Matt Carle agreed.
"Any time you get the opportunity to have a 5-on-3, I think you need to score," Carle said. "It's one of those things where it's a momentum killer. The other team picks up momentum as well if they kill it off, so that was a big turning point I think."
The Flyers will certainly have to improve on the power play if they want to beat the Sabres and the fantastic play of goaltender Ryan Miller.