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Flyers even series with Sabres 1-1

The Philadelphia Flyers beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-4 in a wild game in Wells Fargo Center Saturday to even the series at 1-1.

This game had a lot of excitement and intensity. There were hits, fights, blocked shots, and plenty of goals.

The real story of this game was all of the penalties. On paper it seems that the special teams favored Buffalo: Philadelphia went 1 for 10 on the power play while Buffalo went 2 for 8, both of their man-advantage goals being scored by Thomas Vanek. However, Buffalo struggled to get any kind of rhythm, especially in the second period, and saw their game plan go out the window due to all the penalty killing they had to do.

Philadelphia is a hard hitting team and has a lot of talented forwards who can make plays with the puck too. But, I don't think Buffalo is outmatched in this series. If they had spent less time on the penalty kill in this game, they would have had more opportunities to test the Flyers' goalies and defense, and their offensive weapons would have gotten more ice-time.

Sergei Bobrovsky was pulled in the first period after allowing three goals. Brian Boucher did a good job in his place stopping 20 of 21 shots, but this is definietely the Flyers' weakness and Buffalo needs to attack it.

I don't think its fair to complain that the officiating was unfair or biased towards one side. They won't be able to see and make every call, and sometimes they make calls that are questionable, that is just part of the game. Buffalo definitely took some penalties they didn't have to: too many men on the ice in inexcusable, Gaustad's holding the stick was uncalled for and Myers' one where he pushed Hartnell into Miller wasn't acceptable either.

As mentioned earlier, the penalty killing really messed with Buffalo's ability to play four lines. Jason Pominville, Tim Connolly and Paul Gaustad were all tired out from penalty killing and unable to help create scoring chances int ehs econd and third period. At one point, Lindy Ruff had Rob Niedermayer skating with Vanek and Drew Stafford. Those players usually skate on three different lines.

Tyler Ennis only got 10:21 ice-time, and has yet to have much of an impact on offense. Even worse was that after a productive game one, Nathan Gerbe only saw 6:30 of ice time in game two.

I like all the blocked shots and physical play, but the Sabres need to stick with their four lines and focus on not taking stupid penalities so they can maintain a good flow to their games.

Hopefully, the home crowd at HSBC arena will be able to set a different tone for game three on Monday, and Buffalo will be able to control the game better.


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