BUFFALO, NY - APRIL 18: Jeff Carter #17 and Mike Richards #18 of the Philadelphia Flyers celebrate after Carter scored Philadelphia's first goal against the Buffalo Sabres in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at HSBC Arena at HSBC Arena on April 18, 2011 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

Flyers Vs. Sabres, Game 3: Philly Holds Off Buffalo, Takes Series Lead With 4-2 Win

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Flyers Vs. Sabres, Game 3: Jeff Carter Scores Goal, Adds Assist To Lead Philly Past Buffalo

The Philadelphia Flyers lost home-ice advantage against the Buffalo Sabres with a Game 1 loss at home, but on Monday night at HSBC Arena, the No. 2 seed in the East grabbed that edge right back with a strong 4-2 win in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

Brian Boucher stepped in and provided another solid playoff performance, making 35 stops to earn the win. One stop will prove to be memorable for Sabres fans following this one, as on a 5-on-3 in the third period, his face got in the way of a point-blank shot. The puck snapped a strap on the back of Boucher's helmet, and with the puck in Buffalo's posession, he quickly flicked the helmet off of his head.

The whistle blew, the helmet was fixed, the fans booed, and ultimately, the Flyers killed the penalties. It could be called a turning point in the game, and there's no doubt that a lot of Sabres fans are unhappy about it. 

It wasn't the only failed opportunity on the power play for Buffalo, though. It was a game highlighted by the officiating yet again, as the Sabres went one-for-five on the power play. The Flyers went one-for-three. 

Danny Briere, Nikolay Zherdev and Jeff Carter scored for Philadelphia, while Kimmo Timonen added an empty netter at the end. Nathan Gerbe and Drew Stafford scored for the Sabres. We're back in Buffalo for Game 4 on Wednesday night.

For more on the series, visit our blogs: Broad Street Hockey for Flyers coverage, Die By The Blade on the Sabres. You can find full SBNation.com coverage here


Sabres Vs. Flyers, Game 3: Philadelphia Takes Control, But Nathan Gerbe Scores To Keep Buffalo Involved

Danny Briere doesn't usually get much love from the Buffalo crowd -- at least, not since he left the Sabres to join the Flyers in free agency a few years back. After his second period goal in Game 3 at HSBC Arena put the Flyers up 2-1, Briere's not likely to change the opinion of the local crowd -- and that's not going to bug the Flyers.

After 40 minutes, Philadelphia holds a 3-2 lead thanks to that Briere goal and a tic-tac-toe tally by Nikolay Zherdev, who's in the lineup for the first time in the postseason thanks to an Andreas Nodl injury. 

But Buffalo has the momentum as we head to the third, thanks to a late period goal from Nathan Gerbe. Brian Boucher let up a big rebound that got in front of defenseman Danny Syvret and right to the stick of Gerbe, who roofed a beautiful shot over the glove of Boucher. 

The crowd is back involved and the Sabres certainly have life and a chance to protect home ice in these final 20 minutes, but they're going to have to get more pressure at even strength to make it happen. The Flyers seem to be controlling things at five-on-five. 


Sabres Vs. Flyers, Game 3: Score Tied As Special Teams Dictate First Period

As it's looked so far, this first round series between the Philadelphia Flyers and Buffalo Sabres has been dictated by special teams. That's continued into the first period of Game 3, as both Jeff Carter and Drew Stafford got on the board with power play goals. 

The resident buffoons on each team were both in action in the period, as Buffalo's Patrick Kaleta took the penalty that led to Carter's power play snipe. Late in the period, as the Sabres kicked up momentum and began controlling play, Scott Hartnell took two completely separate minor penalties at the exact same time, interfering with a Sabre while knocking his net off. 

The Sabres knocked on the door several times during the double minor, but so far, Brian Boucher has been up to the task. Philadelphia didn't have a shot in the final 11 minutes of the period, while Boucher has turned aside 15 shots. There are about 40 seconds left on the double minor to Hartnell as the second period begins. 


Flyers Name Brian Boucher Game 3 Starter; Jordan Leopold Back For Sabres

The scene has shifted to snowy Buffalo for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals between the Sabres and Philadelphia Flyers, and as the locale changes, so do the lineups for both clubs.

Brian Boucher will be the Flyers starting goaltender on Monday night, as coach Peter Laviolette opts to go with the calm, veteran presence in net over the young Sergei Bobrovsky, who certainly had a rough start to Game 2 on Saturday before being yanked in the first period. 

Boucher replaced Bob in that game, and afterward, defenseman Sean O`Donnell talked about his impact on the game, which the Flyers ultimately won 5-4. 

"I think Boosh is very calm," O'Donnell said. "He's been around. It takes a special kind of person to come in while we're down 3-2, in front of 20,000 fans, during a big game. I'm not going to say a must win, but it was a big game. He kind of settled things down for us and I think that was one of the reasons why we played with a little more composure maybe in the last 45 or 50 minutes."

The Flyers can't expect that type of calming influence from a kid like Bobrovsky, who admitted after Game 2 that he was not in good shape mentally after what happened in the game. As a result, Michael Leighton will ride the bench in place of Bobrovsky, who will take in the action from the press box. There are larger questions looming as a result of this move, but for now, it's tough to argue that Boucher doesn't give the Flyers the best chance at winning Game 3.

Meanwhile, Buffalo will see a welcome addition to their blueline for Game 3. Jordan Leopold, who was out with a broken finger, will be back in the Sabres lineup earlier than expected. He's a similar type of calming influence on a defensive unit that is extremely green. Leopold plays a ton of minutes and is strong in his own end, and he'll be a serious challenge for the Flyers if he is in fact 100 percent. 

In other lineup news, Philadelphia's Andreas Nodl will sit out with a minor injury, given Nikolay Zherdev a chance to return to the ice. That's a boost offensively for the Flyers, but also a bit of a downgrade defensively, as Nodl is one of the Flyers shutdown forwards. Chris Pronger skated with his teammates on Monday but will sit out again in Game 3. 

For more on the series, visit our blogs: Broad Street Hockey for Flyers coverage, Die By The Blade on the Sabres. You can find full SBNation.com coverage here

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