NHL Game Summary - Buffalo at Philadelphia
(Tuesday, March 4th)
Final Score: Buffalo 5, Philadelphia 2
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Maxim Afinogenov registered two goals and an assist, as the Buffalo Sabres downed the Philadelphia Flyers, 5-2, at the Wachovia Center.
Jason Pominville scored two goals for the Sabres, who pulled within one point of the Flyers for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. Henrik Tallinder collected two assists before he left the game with a shoulder injury. Steve Bernier added two helpers, while Ryan Miller stopped 19-of-21 shots to earn his 30th win of the season.
Steve Downie and Scottie Upshall tallied for the Flyers, who suffered their first regulation loss since a 3-1 setback to San Jose on February 21. Philadelphia had put together a 3-0-2 mark in its last five contests. Martin Biron was roughed up for five goals on 18 shots before he was lifted in favor of Antero Niittymaki, who stopped all three shots he faced.
The Flyers were without the services of center Daniel Briere, who missed the game with a shoulder sprain.
In the early stages of the third period, Buffalo erupted for two goals in an 18-second span to break a 2-2 tie.
As the clubs skated 4-on-4, Derek Roy got in behind the Flyers defense and broke in alone on Biron, beating the goaltender on the stick side 66 seconds into the stanza. Eighteen seconds later, Pominville tapped in a feed from Nolan Pratt to give the Sabres a two-goal lead.
Afinogenov put the game out of reach with a wraparound tally at 5:57. The winger circled behind the net, came around the right post and snapped a wrister that beat Biron high on the short side, ending the goaltender's night prematurely.
Philadelphia was unable to cut into its deficit as Buffalo hung on for the win.
The Sabres jumped out to a 2-0 lead before the contest reached the 10-minute mark. Buffalo struck quickly, as a Tallinder shot from the left point pinballed off the stick of Philadelphia's Vaclav Prospal and the right skate of Philadelphia's Jason Smith prior to deflecting off the skate of Pominville, who was battling for position in front of Biron, at 1:02.
Afinogenov, who recently returned to the lineup after missing time with a groin injury, lit the lamp at 9:55 to make it a 2-0 game. Afinogenov raced down the left wing, turned on the jets and sped past Philadelphia defenseman Jaroslav Modry on his way to knifing a backhander between the pads of Biron. It was his first tally since December 22, a 6-5 win over these same Flyers.
With the clubs skating 4-on-4, the Flyers cut the lead in half when Upshall notched his 11th goal of the season. Off a clean faceoff win, Kimmo Timonen fired a shot from the left point that was stopped by the traffic in front. Upshall then corralled the loose puck and snapped it over the left pad of Miller to put Philly on the board with 5:26 to go in the frame.
Philadelphia tied the game on Downie's sixth marker of the season. As the Flyers skated down the ice on a 3-on-2 rush, Downie carried the puck into the Buffalo zone and Sabres center Paul Gaustad, scrambling to get back in the play, hounded the rookie, who still managed to elevate the puck over the left shoulder of Miller at the 5:51 mark of the second.
The Flyers have lost seven of their last eight home tilts...Buffalo won the four-game season series (3-0-1)...Pominville extended his point streak to nine games (six goals, five assists)...Buffalo finished 0-for-6 on the power play, while Philadelphia went 0-for-5 with the man advantage.
03/04 21:56:29 ET