Saturday, November 22, 2008

Flyers blank lowly Sabres 3-0

Martin Biron made the Buffalo Sabres pay for plenty of missed opportunities.

Biron made 40 saves for his first shutout of the season and 24th overall in the Philadelphia Flyers’ 3-0 victory over the Sabres on Friday night.

Buffalo misfired on a handful of open nets, hit three posts, and couldn’t muster any luck against a Philadelphia team that won its third straight.

Biron actually looked rather good on his own, making several spectacular saves against his former team to help the Flyers improve to 8-6-4 with their fourth win in five games. He stopped Thomas Vanek with a nifty right pad save on a second-period breakaway, and robbed Jaroslav Spacek on a point-blank slap shot with the Flyers down two men in the first.

Biron also made six big stops over a combined two minutes of a pair of Buffalo two-man advantages in the opening two periods.

“We played a pretty basic game, and Marty did everything that we needed him to do,” said Philadelphia center Jeff Carter, who scored twice. Scott Hartnell also scored for the Flyers, 3-0-1 in their last four road games.

The Flyers won despite playing without former Sabres co-captain Daniel Briere. He missed his fourth consecutive game because of a groin injury.

After starting the season 6-0-2, the slumping Sabres (9-7-3) dropped their fourth straight to fall to 1-5-1 in their last seven games.

Buffalo’s Ryan Miller finished with 22 saves two nights after being pulled early in the third period in Boston after surrendering seven goals. He dropped to 5-1-1 in his last seven starts against the Flyers.

In an effort to shake up its slump, Buffalo sat defenseman Henrik Tallinder and forward Maxim Afinogenov. Right wing Mark Mancari, the second-leading scorer in the AHL, was recalled from Portland and inserted into the lineup, while defenseman Nathan Paetsch played for just the fifth time. The change was to no avail.

“When you haven’t been going good you don’t get the breaks,” Ruff said. “We haven’t been going good.”

Hartnell opened the scoring with just 58 seconds left in the first period. Coming out of the penalty box after serving a minor penalty, Hartnell accepted a long pass from Simon Gagne to go in alone on Miller. Hartnell made a quick move before lifting a backhander over Miller’s left shoulder for his fifth of the season.

Two minutes later, Jason Pominville hit the side of a gaping net before Carter made Buffalo pay, beating Miller with a bouncing-puck wrist shot from the top of the right circle that made it 2-0 with 11:41 to go.
Carter capped the scoring with his team-leading 13th into an empty net with a minute left.

No comments: