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Flyers dominate game seven to advance

After a tight back and forth series, the Philadelphia Flyers hammered the Buffalo Sabres 5-2 in game seven Tuesday night to win the series and advance to the next round of the playoffs.

As a Sabres fan, I am definitely disappointed. After a great run in the second half of the season to make the playoffs, I really thought we had a chance to beat a Flyers in the first round.

After matching up with the Flyers so well in the first six games, the Sabres looked lousy in game seven. They turned the puck over, couldn't get the puck out of their own zone, couldn't kill penalties and Ryan Miller was less than perfect in net.

A lot of members of the media are probably ready to criticize this team for a lack of leadership or heart, but I don't like that talk.

Look at it this way: this team was really fun to watch down the stretch and they played a good series against Philadelphia. Sure, everyone in Buffalo had high hopes coming into the playoffs but they were still only the seventh place team, matched up against the second place team.

Yes it was a close series and yes Buffalo missed chances to finish the series when they blew three leads in game six, but Philadelphia is a good team too.

There were quite a few things going against Buffalo coming into this game seven, and it turned out that they couldn't rise up and overcome their obstacles.

Injuries. Tim Connolly, Jason Pominville and Patrick Kaleta all were missing from the lineup in game seven. Connolly and Pominville were essential to the penalty kill unit, and the Flyers scored two power play goals in this one. Kaleta is always a great asset to this team with his ability to hit hard and create energy on the ice.

Lineup changes. Though it would seem like a good thing to get Derek Roy and Jochen Hecht back, all these changes to the lineup really messed with the lines that Buffalo had been using in games one through six. Also, Roy was playing hockey for the first time in four months and he certainly didn't have the impact he usually has.

Home ice. Buffalo was supposed to be a good road team and they had already won in Wells Fargo Center twice, but they didn't do much to quiet the crowd tonight. In their other road wins they jumped out to an early lead to quiet the fans and force the Flyers to play catch up. That didn't happen tonight.

I won't question this team's heart or criticize them for lack of leadership. But, I do agree that they would benefit greatly by changing up their personnel a little. Connolly, Stafford, Kaleta and several others will be free agents after this year, and with new owner Terry Pegula enthusiastic about building a winning team, I wouldn't be surprised to see some big changes.

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