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Sabres beat Flyers in game one 1-0

The Buffalo Sabres started its Eastern Conference quarterfinals best-of-seven strong with a 1-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers Thursday night.

Ryan Miller made 35 saves and Patrick Kaleta scored the game's only goal in what was largely a defensive effort.

It seemed like Buffalo spent WAY too much time on the penalty kill, and that's probably because they took and then had to kill seven penalties. But they did that well enough and Miller had a good night.

The real story of this game was the grinding physical play and defense. Both team did a good job of blocking shots, keeping rebounds away from the opponents and preventing odd man rushes.

I was impressed with the play of the third and fourth lines. Mike Grier is clearly a different player in the postseason and he really made his presence felt. Gerbe, Gaustad and Kaleta's line was able to check well and generate scoring chances.

A third period Marc-Andre Gragnani shot yielded one of the only juicy rebounds Sergei Bobrovsky gave up, and Patrick Kaleta slammed home the puck for his first goal since December 27.

On a night when the Sabres' top two lines weren't able to do much, and didn't have many chances at a power play, the Sabres needed a goal from its fourth line to win, and it got it.

Advantage wise, this road win was huge for the Sabres. They now need three wins, and have three home games to get them. However, I don't think home ice will be a huge deal in this series. Both teams play well on the road. Tonight the Sabres did a good job keeping the Philly crowd quiet. The game got hectic at times, especially on all those penalty kills, but Buffalo somehow kept composure and never gave up a goal, which kept the fans at bay.

I expect this physical play to continue when the two teams play again on Saturday, but next time there will likely be a little more scoring; you never know when a team will get a lucky bounce. Also, the teams might look different next time: Chris Pronger may return to the lineup for Philadelphia and Jordan Leopold and Andre Sekera are both possibilities for Buffalo. Some lineup shuffling could change the look of the game, especially if Pronger is playing.


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