In the end, the Flyers' experience and depth were the difference as they defeated the visiting Buffalo Sabres Tuesday night, 5-2, and won the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, four games to three.
The win made the Flyers 6-1 in elimination games over the last two seasons.
"I think that our experience really showed," said Danny Briere, Mr. Post-Season, after collecting a goal and an assist and firing a team-high six shots in the rout. "It’s not a secret that we've played a lot of big games in the last year with mostly the same group. I think that had a lot to do with it.
"They are a young team," he said of the Sabres. "I think they will be a good team for many years to come. That was probably a good lesson for them. But on our side, we are used to playing with our backs against the wall. We have done it many times, and have won most of them. Once again, I love the character of our team.”
Perhaps a delicious-looking rematch with Boston. The Flyers, of course, overcame a three-games-to-none defciit and won last year's epic conference semis against the Bruins.
If Boston wins Wednesday, the Flyers will face the Bruins in the next round. If Montreal upsets Boston, then the Flyers will face Tampa Bay-Pittsburgh survivor.
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For the second straight year, Brian Boucher outplayed a MUCH more heralded goalie in the first round. Last year, it was New Jersey legend Martin Brodeur. This year, it was Olympic hero Ryan Miller.
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Some notes from the win:
* The Flyers are now 9-6 in seventh games and 6-3 when they are played at home. They have won three consecutive seventh games dating back to the 2008 postseason.
* This was just the third time the Flyers ever won a series that they trailed 3-2. The others were the 2010 Eastern Conference semis vs. Boston, and the 1989 Patrick Division finals vs. Pittsburgh.
* Briere’s six goals are the most for a Flyer in a playoff series since R.J. Umberger scored eight in the 2008 Eastern Conference semis vs. Montreal. Briere now has 94 points (41-53-94) in 93 career playoff games.
* Buffalo, already depleted by injuries, lost center Rob Niedermayer to an injury early in the game.
* James van Riemsdyk recorded five shots Tuesday and a total of 43 in the series, which leads all NHL playoff players.
* The Flyers put 70 shots on net (36 on goal, 19 blocked, 15 missed), giving them at least 60 shots towards the goal in six of the seven games of the series.
* The Flyers are now 6-3 all time in nine series vs. the Sabres.
* The Flyers blocked 28 Buffalo shots, the same number as the Sabres had on net. Chris Pronger led the way with five blocks.
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Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BroadStBull.
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