Philadelphia: Ilya Bryzgalov 32-16-7 2.50 GAA .908 SV% 6 SO
Buffalo: Ryan Miller 31-20-7 2.55 GAA .916 SV% 6 SO
Last Meeting: Feb 16 Flyers Won 7-2
Season Series: Flyers Lead 3-0-0
All-Time: Flyers Lead 74-61-22
All-Time at PHI: Flyers Lead 44-23-13
Rangers clinch East’s No. 1 seed with win over Flyers
The New York Rangers can cross another item off their to-do list.
Five different players scored goals as the New York Rangers defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 5-3 on Tuesday to clinch the Atlantic Division title and the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
Marian Gaborik and Ryan McDonagh each had a goal and an assist, and goalie Henrik Lundqvist made 37 saves as the Rangers completed a sweep of the season series with their Atlantic Division rival and extended their win streak against the Flyers to eight.
Lundqvist made a number of those saves with a right arm he injured in the final seconds of the second period when he landed awkwardly lunging to stop a Claude Giroux shot from the left side, the rebound of which became the Flyers’ second goal. After the game, Lundqvist said he suffered a “stinger” and had trouble gripping his stick in the third period. He had an ice bag taped to his right forearm.
“I was struggling all third period,” said Lundqvist. “I told Martin (Biron) to be ready just in case I couldn’t go. A couple of times I was like, ‘I’m out of here. I can’t really hold a stick.’ It was tough in the third.”
However, he persevered and completed the game to earn his career-best 39th victor
“He was unbelievable,” Rangers coach John Tortorella said of Lundqvist. “I’m glad Hank got a bunch of work. I think that’s something we want Hank to have. That’s the best I’ve seen him play in a few weeks here. … It was a good game for him. He just looked confident and it’s the most confident I’ve seen him in a few weeks.”
Brad Richards had a pair of assists and the Rangers dominated in special-teams play. New York killed seven of eight Flyers power plays and went 3-for-6 with the man-advantage. The Rangers, who entered the game 27th in the League on the power play at 15.1 percent, went 8-for-25 (32.0 percent) in six games against Philadelphia.
They didn’t roll over when they dropped to the bottom of the Eastern Conference in mid-February — and they didn’t give up Tuesday night when they fell behind Toronto 3-0 after one period in a game they had to win to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Instead, the Sabres saved their season by rallying from 3-0 and 5-3 deficits to beat the Maple Leafs 6-5 in overtime at the First Niagara Center.
“For the last home game of the year in the regular season, that game had everything,” coach Lindy Ruff said.
Derek Roy’s power-play goal 3:29 into overtime capped Buffalo’s night-long comeback and gave the Sabres 88 points, the same as eighth-place Washington — but the Capitals own the tiebreaker because they have more non-shootout wins. Both teams have two games remaining.
“I just wanted to step up and do my part,” said Roy, who along with Alexander Sulzer scored two goals for Buffalo. “I told myself before the game that my part is to score goals. I told myself, ‘Your job is to score goals.’ ”
The Sabres trailed 5-3 after Toronto defenseman Jake Gardiner scored with 9:21 remaining in regulation. But Sulzer, who had two goals in his NHL career before this game, got his second of the night with 5:03 remaining by stuffing the puck under the pad of goaltender Ben Scrivens.
That goal re-ignited the Sabres and the 18,690 fans in attendance. Buffalo put on wave after wave of pressure and tied the game with 1:53 left when Jordan Leopold somehow dug the puck out of a pile of bodies during a lengthy scramble in the crease and slid it over the goal line.
“The official (referee Mike Hasenfratz) was right there and the puck was moving around the whole time,” Leopold said.
Leafs coach Randy Carlyle, who called the loss “gut-wrenching,” wasn’t happy that Hasenfratz, who was standing inches outside the crease, didn’t blow the whistle.
“If I say what I want to say, we’d be reading about a nominal fine for the coach of the Leafs,” Carlyle said. “I have no comment on what happened out there.”
Needless to say, Ruff saw it a little differently.
“I think that was one of the most incredible displays I’ve seen, in trying to find the puck wherever it was at,” he said.
“I said early in the year when we had a quick whistle (that) it all evens out. And it finally evened out.”
April 5, 2008 Vanek Hat-Trick and Thibault Shutout Carries Sabres to 3-0 Win Over Bruins
On This Date 4 Years ago Thomas Vanek scored 3 times in the Sabres 3-0 victory over the Bruins. Jocelyn Thibault had his brightest moment as a Sabres stopping all 17 shots for his 2nd Shutout of the Season. In 12 games as a Sabres Thibault went 3-4-2 with a 3.31 GAA, .869 Save Percentage, and 2 Shutouts. Vanek would finish up the 2007-2009 season scoring 36 Goals and Recording 64 Points which ranks 3rd best season in Vanek’s 7 year Sabres Career. The Sabres would not go to the playoffs that year finishing the season with a 39-31-12 record good for 90 points for 10th in the Conference.
Philadelphia: LaPerriere Post-Concussion Syndrome(IR/Out), Betts Bone Bruise/Fluid in Left Knee(IR/Out), Pronger Post-Concussion Syndrome/Left Knee Surgery(IR/Out), Sestito Groin Surgery(IR/Out), van Riemsdyk Left Foot Surgery(IR/Out), Meszaros Lower Back Injury Surgery(Out), Grossmann Lower Body(Out), Briere Lower Back Contusion(Out)
Buffalo: Hecht Concussion(IR/Out), Myers Foot(Out), Ehrhoff Left Knee(Out), Ellis Knee(Questionable)