BUFFALO, NY - APRIL 24: Ville Leino #22, Kris Versteeg #10 and Mike Richards #18 of the Philadelphia Flyers celebrate Leino's overtime goal against the Buffalo Sabres in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at HSBC Arena at HSBC Arena on April 24, 2011 in Buffalo, New York. Philadelphia won 5-4 in overtime and tied the series at 3-3. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

Flyers Vs. Sabres, Game 6: Mike Richards Hit Overshadows Ville Leino's OT Winner

Ville Leino scored the game-winning goal in overtime as the Philadelphia Flyers topped the Buffalo Sabres, 4-3, to spite their goaltending in a must-win Game 6.

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Flyers Vs. Sabres, Game 6: Buffalo Blows Chance To Clinch On Home Ice

Ville Leino shoved in a loose puck 4:43 into overtime, lifting the Philadelphia Flyers to a 5-4 victory over the Buffalo Sabres and sending their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series to a Game 7.

The Sabres had the prime chance to clinch their first playoff series in four years against the Philadelphia Flyers, but a game tying third period goal and the eventual game winning goal in overtime allows a pivotal Game 7 between the two teams.

The story of this game for Sabres fans is the boarding penalty that Mike Richards took on Tim Connolly in the second period.

Sabes blog Die By The Blade thinks there's a good chance Richards will get suspended:

The question is whether Richards will be suspended for the hit. My honest opinion is that I have no freaking clue. With the way that NHL Operations have been handing out suspensions in the playoffs, especially for hits to the head, it wouldn't surprise me that Richards may get at least a game. At this point though, do not be surprised by anything that happens.

Meanwhile, Flyers blog Broad Street Hockey recognizes that their team has many faults, but they've got one thing going for them...

Say anything you want about this Philadelphia Flyers team. The goaltending sucks, the power play sucks, Peter Laviolette made some horrible decisions, whatever. All of this might be true, and there are definitely some legitimate gripes to be had. But when all is said and done, there's one thing you can't knock them for. 

They care a whole hell of a lot.

For more on Sunday's Game 6, check in with our blogs: Broad Street Hockey on the Flyers and Die By The Blade on the Sabres.


Flyers Vs. Sabres, Game 6: Ville Leino Scores In OT, Caps Philadelphia Comeback, Forces Game 7

In Game 5 on Friday night between the Philadelphia Flyers and Buffalo Sabres, the Flyers came back from 3-0 down to tie the game on a goal from Danny Briere in the third period. They sat back and allowed Buffalo to win in overtime, though, when a pad save from Michael Leighton came out to the stick of Tyler Ennis.

As a result of their win, Buffalo had a chance to close out Philadelphia with a victory on Easter Sunday, and after getting out to another big lead thanks to some horrific goaltending in the Flyers crease, it looked as though that would happen. But as Philadelphia has proven in the last two years, they're never out of a game, and that's exactly what happened against Sunday.

Michael Leighton was relieved in net by Brian Boucher to start the second period, and within 10 minutes, the game was tied on goals from James van Riemsdyk and Danny Briere. Nathan Gerbe would score on a quick shot over the shoulder of Boucher late in the second, but the Flyers didn't give up even still.

Scott Hartnell scored midway through the third to tie the score, and just 4:43 into overtime, Ville Leino's second chance opportunity snuck across the goal line. Ball game. We're headed back to Philadelphia for Game 7 on Tuesday night.


Flyers Vs. Sabres, Game 6 Score: Buffalo Escapes Philadelphia Comeback With 4-3 Lead After Two

The Philadelphia Flyers fought back and tied the score in Game 5 on Friday night in Philadelphia after falling behind 3-0. In Game 6, a similar comeback was mounted from a two-goal deficit early in the second period, as Danny Briere and James van Riemsdyk beat Ryan Miller to tie the game at three goals a piece. 

But as was the case following the tying goal in Game 5, the Flyers sat back a bit and the Sabres stepped up, asserting their will once again in the Philadelphia offensive end. In Game 5, it resulted in an overtime tally from Tyler Ennis, and in Game 6, it has resulted in a tie-breaking goal by Nathan Gerbe. 

The difference, of course, is that there are 20 minutes left in the game as the Flyers try to fend off elimination and force a Game 7 in Philly on Tuesday. It'll be interesting to see what team shows up in the third period, and if the Flyers goaltending can avoid allowing a fifth poor goal. 

Mike Richards plowed Tim Connolly into the boards with the game still tied during that second period. Connolly has yet to return to action, while Richards likely got off lightly with just a two-minute minor. Given the precedent set in this postseason when it comes to hits, it might not be a suspension for Richards, but more than a two-minute penalty was certainly warranted. 

This one could go either way in the final 20 minutes. Or, we could have extra time. Wouldn't expect much less in this series. 


Flyers Vs. Sabres, Game 6 Score: Michael Leighton Allows Three Soft Goals; Buffalo Up, 3-1

Peter Laviolette opted to go with Michael Leighton as his starting goaltender in Game 6, a must-win game for his Philadelphia Flyers against the Buffalo Sabres. It appears that was the wrong decision. 

Leighton allowed three extremely soft goals on just eight shots in the first period, while Ryan Miller easily outdueled him at the other end with one save on 17 first period shots. Of course, Miller probably had his eyes closed in the process. The Sabres lead, 3-1, after one period.

The possession time, the shot totals and just about everything minus the goalie numbers and the scoreboard are in Philadelphia's favor, and that's what makes this first period and this entire playoff round more than frustrating for fans of the Flyers. But terrible goaltending and a punchless power play have been unable to get the job done, and when you stack that up against the tremendous work of Miller, it's a nasty potion.

Chris Pronger returned for the Flyers in the first period but only saw the ice on the power play. He played just three shifts and he took a retaliatory slashing call against Tyler Myers while the Flyers were up a man. 

If Philly can keep pressure on the Sabres, there's no reason to think they can't come back in the game. They're going to need their goalie to make some saves on the few chances Buffalo does get, though. Wouldn't be shocked to see Brian Boucher in goal to start the second period.


Flyers Vs. Sabres, Game 6: Michael Leighton In Goal For Philadelphia

You wouldn't expect anything less when it comes to the goaltending of the Philadelphia Flyers, and as they face a do-or-die, must-win Game 6 against the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday afternoon, they'll start their third different goalie in this first-round series. 

Michael Leighton is in goal for the Flyers, getting the nod over Brian Boucher after No. 33 was pulled after a soft start in Game 5. Until that point, Boucher had the best numbers of any goalie in the 2011 postseason. He came in to relieve Sergei Bobrovsky in Game 2 and earned the start in Games 3, 4 and 5. 

The facts are bizarre. They've had three different goaltenders play strong hockey in this series, and that sentence alone is just weird. Despite all the wildness, goaltending hasn't really been the difference in the series to this point for the Flyers. It's been the special teams, and that has nothing to do with who's in net. 

Before you ask when the last time a team played three goalies in a series and won that series was, it was the 2009-10 Flyers, who played Johan Backlund, Leighton and Boucher in the Conference Semifinals against the Boston Bruins a year ago.


Flyers Vs. Sabres, Game 6: Buffalo Looks To Advance To Second Round For First Time Since 2007

The last time the Buffalo Sabres advanced beyond the first round of the NHL playoffs in 2007, they were led by a cast of several offensive stars that led them to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second year in a row. 

Most of those guys are still on the team, but one notable subtraction left after that season to take a monster contract with the Philadelphia Flyers. Fans in Buffalo are still a little bitter about that, and their team can get a bit of revenge against Briere by knocking his Flyers out on Easter Sunday afternoon in Game 6.

That chance comes on the heels of an overtime win in Game 5 for the Sabres, in which they blew a 3-0 lead before winning 4-3 on a Tyler Ennis goal. One of those top players that's been around in Buffalo since 2007, Jason Pominville, injured his foot in that Game 5 win when he was cut by the skate of James van Riemsdyk. He's won of the Sabres top scorers and his absence will be felt on Sunday, especially on the power play.

Speaking of the power play, the Flyers lack of execution with the extra man is one of the reasons they're down in this series. Losing three one-goal games is frustrating enough if you're Philadelphia, but when scoring on the power play could fix that problem rather simply, it's even more frustrating. 

Chris Pronger could return for the Flyers in the must-win game, while there's no word on which of their three goaltenders will be in the crease. Peter Laviolette is keeping that close to the vest. Derek Roy and Jochen Hecht are nearing a return and could be around should a Game 7 become necessary on Tuesday in Philly.

For more on Sunday's Game 6, check in with our blogs: Broad Street Hockey on the Flyers and Die By The Blade on the Sabres. 

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