PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 22: Tyler Ennis #63 of the Buffalo Sabres celebrates with teammates after scoring the game winning goal in overtime in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center on April 22, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Buffalo Sabres defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 4 to 3. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Sabres Vs. Flyers, Game 5: Tyler Ennis' Overtime Goal Gives Buffalo 4-3 Win

The Buffalo Sabres held off a furious Philadelphia comeback and defeated the Flyers in overtime, 4-3, to take a 3-2 series lead back home for Game 6.

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Sabres Vs. Flyers, Game 5: Tyler Ennis Scores In Overtime, Pushes Philly To Brink

Despite getting outplayed and outworked for the final 40 minutes of the game, the Buffalo Sabres were able to score on a rebound goal in overtime to beat the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 5 of their NHL playoff series at Wells Fargo Center on Friday night.

They take a 3-2 series lead back home to Buffalo with a chance to advance to the second-round in Game 6 on Easter Sunday. Ryan Miller was good yet again, but for the most part, this game was solely on the Flyers. After a horrible start by goaltender Brian Boucher saw him lifted in the first period, Michael Leighton came in and didn't see much work as Philly rebounded and took control of the hockey game.

Goals from James van Riemsdyk, Andrej Meszaros and Danny Briere pulled the game even by the early stages of the third period, but from there, play settled down a bit and the Sabres were able to get the game to overtime, where Ennis buried the winner. 

As we head to a do-or-die Game 6 for the Flyers, there are a ton of questions about which team will show up (and of course, which goalie will play). Likewise, there are a ton of questions about the Sabres lineup, which lost Jason Pominville tonight. He took a skate to the back of the leg in the corner during the first period.

We saw him walking out of the building with a full boot on his left leg and crutches supporting his slow stride to the team bus. He didn't look good, and given that, it would be shocking if he played in Game 6, in the series or in the rest of the playoffs. 


Sabres Vs. Flyers, Game 5: Philadelphia Scores Twice In Second, Gets Back Into Game

The first period of Game 5 was all Buffalo Sabres, as they jumped out to a 3-0 lead and chased goaltender Brian Boucher from the festivities. The Philadelphia Flyers and their home crowd were down and out, and it looked as though Buffalo would easily waltz to a 3-2 series lead.

Instead, they were lucky to escape the second period with a 3-2 game lead, as the Flyers completely flipped the switch and dominated, out-shooting Buffalo 15-5 in the process. They've gotten pucks on net, bodies in front of Ryan Miller, and obviously of utmost importance, rubber into the back of the net. 

As we head to the third period, one team has 20 minutes of solid play under their belt, and there are a ton of questions to be answered. Will the momentum carry into the third period for Philadelphia, or can the Sabres succesfully shut down the Flyers with a one-goal lead, as they did in Games 1 and 4? 

Jason Pominville is out of the Sabres lineup after a nasty skate slice in the first period. It's feared that it could be an Achilles, according to some reports from Buffalo media. Here in the press box at the Wells Fargo Center, I haven't seen a clear replay. Jordan Leopold also left the game in the first, but he's back in the lineup as we head to the third. 


Sabres Vs. Flyers, Game 5: Brian Boucher Pulled As Buffalo Scores Three Times In First

It's always interesting in Philadelphia when it comes to the Flyers, and it's no different on Friday night through one period of Game 5 against the Buffalo Sabres.

In the biggest game of the season to date for both teams, the Sabres quickly jumped out to a 2-0 lead less than four minutes into the contest on goals from Tyler Ennis and Thomas Vanek. Both were scored from on the goal line, off the front of Brian Boucher, through the five-hole and into the net. Not exactly the way you want to start things off.

The Sabres controlled play for most of the period until the officials started blowing the whistle about midway through. They've been atrocious all series long and that's continued in all directions tonight, but the difference all series in that department has been the Flyers horrible power play. Unable to get clean chances through on Ryan Miller, the Sabres have been able to kill off those Philly chances with ease.

Meanwhile, at the other end, Buffalo capitalized on a 4-on-3 chance on a Marc-Andre Gragnani chance. As we head to the second period, the Sabres are rolling, 3-0, and the Flyers are just looking for a way to stop the bleeding. Michael Leighton is in net for Philadelphia, and he's the third goalie to play for them in this series. Which is, you know, unbelievable.

All of the insanity of the first period began with news that Zac Rinaldo was in the Flyers lineup. Rinaldo, 20, is known for his incredible ability to take multiple suspension-worthy penalties in just one spin around the ice, and it took him until he got about four or five feet off the Philadelphia bench to throw a hit on his first shift.

With the score, though, he hasn't seen much ice time, and the pre-game news that he'd be in the lineup has quieted to stunned disbelief from the partisan crowd here at Wells Fargo Center.


Sabres Vs. Flyers, Game 5: Can Ryan Miller Still Buffalo Another Game?

Chris Pronger would have been a serious help to the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 5 of their first-round NHL playoff series against the Buffalo Sabres, but despite reports that he'd likely play on Friday night, he's out of the lineup and the Flyers are back to the same defense that they've seen all playoffs long.

Not that that's necessarily a bad thing for Philadelphia. In their two losses so far in this series, both were 1-0 affairs with strong defense. The problem for the Flyers has been the Sabres defense, and more specifically, goaltender Ryan Miller.

In both of those shutout victories, the Sabres have fallen into a defensive shell around him after earning the lead, but when Miller's had to make saves, he's been incredibly solid, as should be expected from the Vezina Trophy winner.

Because of this, the first goal is absolutely huge in Game 5. If the Flyers get it, they can unsettle Miller and force the Sabres into playing a little bit more run-and-gun, and in that type of game, Philadelphia dicates things. If Buffalo gets the first goal, it changes the entire complextion of things, and Miller and the Sabres have proven that they can withstand everything the Flyers have to throw at them.

Whoever wins the battle will have a chance to move on come Easter Sunday afternoon. For more, check in with our blogs: Broad Street Hockey on the Flyers and Die By The Blade on the Sabres.  

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