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Live from the Arena: Sabres-Flyers Game Six

Welcome to a potential clinching game in HSBC Arena, something we haven't seen since Game Five against the Islanders in 2007. And we haven't seen a Game Six clincher since the Sabres waxed the Flyers here in 2001 with a crazy 8-0 rout. I do not expect that today.

We're waiting for the lineups to be made official but Michael Leighton was the first goalie on the ice for the Flyers and Chris Pronger DID take the warmup. So we'll see. No Derek Roy or Jochen Hecht for the Sabres. Matt Ellis is in for Jason Pominville.

Keep it here well into the evening for all your updates and we should have the lineup decisions from the Flyers in the next couple of minutes.

---Mike Harrington

3:10 pm.: Lineups are in and Leighton and Pronger are both in for Philly. Connolly is wearing an A for Buffalo in Pominville's absence.

Sabres starters: Ennis-Niedermayer-Stafford-Leopold-Gragnani. Goal: Miller
Flyers starters: Van Riemsdyk-Richards-Versteeg-Carle-Meszaros. Goal: Leighton. 

3:15 p.m.: The Sabres take the ice to a huge roar from their gold pom-pom waving fans. NBC's Darren Pang snags Nathan Gerbe for the quickie interview at center ice.


Of note: "We Can Be Heroes" is one of the tunes played in the intermission here. Good choice. Which Sabre might join Ennis in that category? ... This is the first playoff overtime at HSBC Arena since Daniel Alfredsson won the clinching Game Five of the Eastern Conference final here for Ottawa on May 19, 2007. ... Meszaros has played 28:31 for Philly, Leopold leads Buffalo at 25:05. Stafford is next at 24:09. ... Van Riemsdyk has 10 shots on goal in the game. Wow. Briere has six. Stafford and Coburn have five, while Gerbe and Zherdev have four. ... Sabres have a 41-32 edge in faceoffs. Buffalo also leads by a smidge in hits (22-20) but Flyers have the edge in blocks, 16-15.

6:20 p.m.: The puck is dropped. Where's Van Miller right now? Fasten your seatbelts.

17:51 left: No shots yet.

17:31 left: Gaustad just wide.

17:07 left: Kaleta shot from the wall stopped by Boucher with Gaustad in front looking for a rebound.

15:17 left: Leino with a tap-in. You could feel it coming. FLYERS WIN 5-4.

Third Period

Of note: Vanek and Briere now share the NHL lead for playoff goals with five. Gragnani has seven points, one off the NHL lead, and is tied with Anaheim's Corey Perry for the assist lead with six. ... The Sabres are 2-5 on the PP and the Flyers are 1-4. ... Pronger has played just 3:24 -- all on the power play -- and took a penalty of his own. So he's basically useless. ... Gragnani is leading the Sabres in ice time at 18:01. Stafford is leading forwards at 16:24 as he's gotten 3:54 on the PP and 2:45 on the PK. Meszaros leads the Flyers are 18:34 but he limped off late after taking an Ennis shot to the foot. 

5:29 p.m.: The puck is dropped. Connolly did not return. Imagine he's in the quiet room.

16:38 left: Stafford off the post on a 2-on-1. Great saucer pass by Ennis. Puck was rolling and he struggled to chip it up high and true. Flyer into the net to stop play and Stafford smashes his stick on the glass in disgust.

16:35 left: Boucher snags Gerbe quick wrister off the faceoff.

15:00 left: Boucher with a save on Boyes.

14:50 left: Miller comes back by stopping a Briere slapper and Leopold gets the crowd roaring by wiping out Briere behind the net. Shots are 4-3, Buffalo.

13:00 left: Ennis is skating circles around the Flyers for two games straight. Another great shift ended with a Weber slapper just missing.

12:36 left: Offside on Flyers and the crowd is up waving the pompoms. (And don't tell me how to spell that. NO ONE says "pom-pons")

11:21 left: Butler for holding. Pronger comes back out.

10:09 left: Pronger can only pass. He can't shoot at all. Won't shoot. Had a couple chances.

9:17 left: Hartnell with a tap-in on a Richards pass -- under both Gaustad and Miller just four seconds after the penalty expires. GAME TIED, 4-4. Shots are 42-31 for the Flyers and it's 11-5 in this period. Sabres tried to hold on for 24 minutes. Couldn't do it.

8:22 left: Connolly is listed as a MAY RETURN with an upper-body injury.

3:30 left: Sabres getting outworked badly. Are they out of gas? Shots are 14-5 for Flyers. 

3:26 left: Vanek in alone stopped.

3;15 left: Briere passes on a 2-on-1. Didn't connect.

2:54 left: Offside. Flyers have 11-1 edge in shots in last 12 minutes. Ouch.

1:23 left: Kaleta with 70-footer that Boucher gloves but has to hold for faceoff.

39.5 left: Brutal icing on Flyers. Take another step. 

And we are going to ooovertime: It's 4-4 through 60 minutes. Shots are 45-32 for the Flyers (14-6 in the third period)

Second Period

Of note: The Flyers' power play is 2 for 29 in the series. The Sabres are 6 for 25. Myers had three assists in the first period and Gragnani had two more. Myers played 8:03. He's a beast. Van Riemsdyk has a game-high three shots on goal. By far the Flyers' best player. Has Mike Richards even played in this series? ... AP stats guru Mike Haim reports Vanek's five goals in the series are a first for a Sabre since the immortal Chris Gratton had five against the Flyers in 2001. ... Sabres have an 11-5 edge in the first period in this series.

4:23 p.m: BOUCHER IS IN GOAL FOR THE FLYERS. And the puck is dropped.

13:14 left: Apologies for the disappearance. I had a frozen laptop, not related to Internet issues, and it took a while to get it back. The Sabres' lead was cut to 3-2 on James Van Riemsdyk's snapshot from the slot 49 seconds into the period and the Flyers have been good in this period. Buffalo has a 7-6 edge in shots but Boucher has too much degree of difficulty to deal with ... The Flyers have been so good in the Buffalo zone for spells that Lindy Ruff used his timeout with 16:19 left. Didn't look like he said much. ... Gragnani pulled a puck off the goalline a few seconds earlier that was going in.

So we now should be able to resume our regular programming. Shots are 23-15 for Philly.

12:12 left: Leopold for holding after a scrum. Never event saw an arm in the air. Terrible call. 

11:17 left: And the Flyers' PP finally gets it done. Connnolly played a long time with no stick and Briere blows it by Miller. Game tied, 3-3. 

10:03 left: Boyes high and wide from the slot.

9:09 left: Sabres have an 11-5 bulge in goals in this period. It's 8-1 for the Flyers in the second. Hard to figure that out.

8:08 left: Boucher snags an Ennis shot to hit Carle's leg just before it gets over the line.

7:27 left: Miller makes the save on a 3-on-2. It's the Flyers' 30th shot of the game (Buffalo has 17).

6:54 left: Good shift from Gerbe-Gaustad-Kaleta results in Versteeg slashing penalty. Vanek PP time.

6:03 left: Richards boarding Connolly from behind. How is that not a major? Two-man for 1:10.

5:18 left: Boucher holding firm on three shots so far. Coburn dumped Vanek well after a whistle. Timeout, Philly.


3:51 left: And just like that , another goaltending mishap. Gerbe with the quick snapper high glove on Boucher, who pounds the ice after he misses it. It was deflected by O'Donnell. Sabres lead, 4-3. It was 12 seconds after the PP ended.

1:58 left: Shots on goal are 30-26 for the Flyers. The Sabres have had the last nine in the game.

END-2ND: Sabres lead, 4-3. Shots were 18-14 for Buffalo and it's 31-26 through two. A wild affair.

First Period

3:21 p.m.: The puck is dropped.

18:39 left: Great shift by Gerbe-Gaustad-Kaleta. Kaleta saves an icing and Gaustad throws his weight around twice. He ends up grappling with Hartnell and body slamming him behind the net. They're both getting two minutes. Could have been five. Crowd loves it.

17:47 left: A 3-on-2 break and Ennis feeds Niedermayer for a wicked snapshot to the top corner. Leighton on his knees. Has to make that save. right under the bar. Sabres lead, 1-0. The place explodes. Niedermayer's first playoff goal since 2007 with Anaheim. The guy was a dog during the season but great in this series. His 18th career playoff goal, first since the '07 final vs. Ottawa.

16:52 left: Miller stops a Coburn deflection, Coburn's second good chance of the game. Shots are 5-2 for Philly. 

14:00 left: Pronger has not been on the ice yet. They dressed seven D in the game. He must be there for moral support.

12:30 left: Shots are 7-2 for the Flyers but it's not like they've had any real control of things. Sabres have been buzzing in the Philly zone but mostly kept outside. You get the feeling another goal on Leighton might really open the floodgates (or bring in Boucher).

12:10 left: Carcillo for cross checking. Not the most intelligent play in the world, coming in the offensive zone against McCormick.

11:19 left: And the penalty kills the Flyers as Myers puts one toward the net and Vanek reaches behind and deflects it off Andrej Meszaros' leg and in. Sabres lead, 2-0. Two goals on four shots. Vanek's fourth of the series, three on the PP. Another assist for Gragnani.

9:55 left: Gerbe for holding. Let's see if Pronger comes out. Shots are 10-4 for Philly. Pronger skating around limbering his legs. Looks like he's going to be a PP-only guy today. Gerbe has to think better than that. Don't get engaged with anyone and grab a stick when your team has all the momentum.

9:22 left: Briere-like boos first time Pronger touches the puck.

7:15 left: Solid job on the PK. Flyers had virtually no zone time at all. Shots are 12-4 for Philly but Miller is sharp again. The crowd up here by us is chanting, "Who's Your Goalie?" Reminds me of Yankee Stadium's "Who's Your Daddy" at Pedro Martinez. Solid creativity there.

6:39 left: Briere trips Kaleta well after the whistle in the Buffalo crease. Kaleta chirps at him on the way to the bench.

5:35 left: Leighton robs Montador from the slot and Montador misses the backhand rebound with much of the net. That would have been just about it for the Flyers and Leighton you'd think.

5:07 left: It was inevitable. Flyers have been better last few minutes. Briere gets open alone in front and flips one past Miller. Sabres lead, 2-1. Shots are 14-5 for Philly.

3:47 left: Connolly for cross checking. Flyers 2 for 27 on the PP in the series and desperately need one here.

2:22 left: Butler for delay over the glass. Big mistake. Another two-manner for the Flyers for 36 seconds. 

1:58 left: Pronger for slashing in front of the net as Myers battled him and dropped him after the slash. 

1:46 left: Meszaros for high sticking against Gragnani. So much for that Philly power play. Now it's 4-on-3 for Buffalo.

33.0 left: Vanek with an absolutely ridiculous circus goal on the PP. Pulls the puck behind him, through the legs, through Leighton's legs. Sabres lead, 3-1. Leighton has to stop that one too. Flyers have to go to Boucher for 2nd period, right? 

End-1st: Sabres lead 3-1. Leighton skates off with mask atop his head, no chance of seeing the ice again. Shots were 17-8 Philly. This series is all about power plays and goaltending. Buffalo is absolutely killing the Flyers in both.

Live pregame chat with News hockey reporters at 2:30 p.m.

Laviolette on Lindy: 'I thought it was funny'

PHILADELPHIA -- Peter Laviolette and Lindy Ruff have some history in the chirping department dating to the 2006 Eastern Conference finals when Laviolette coached Carolina. So it figured the Flyers coach would have some reaction to Ruff's "they're whining" rant from yesterday.

"I thought it was funny," Laviolette said. "One of the [Flyers' assistant] coaches did a little spoof on it today in the coaches office and took out the word 'whining' and put in 'winning.' It was pretty funny. We don't get involved in too much of that crap but it was funny. We had a good time with it."

Pressed on whether it was inevitable Ruff would spout off in this series based on his '06 experience, Laviolette simply said, "We don't get wrapped up too much in that. We had a good chuckle."

Ruff said he wasn't worried he was motivating the Flyers with his comments.

"I think we got a lot of motivation from their comments is what i think," Ruff said. "That we got away with murder, we got a lot of motivation out of that. That really fired us up."

In Laviolette's session, he dodges most questions about Chris Pronger, discusses Ruff and heaps praise on the Flyers' penalty killers.

Ruff was quizzed quite a bit about Brad Boyes by, and also discusses Tim Connolly, the need for a better power play and more on Ryan Miller

---Mike Harrington

Peter Laviolette

Lindy Ruff

Live from the Arena: Sabres-Flyers Game Four

Greetings again from HSBC Arena as we get set for Game Four, which will actually face off in the 7:40 range (raspberries and other noises from the press box in the direction of TSN for that one). I'm still trying to thaw out from the walk over here from One News Plaza a couple of hours ago through a biting wind that made it feel like January. I'm thinking the folks in the Party on the Plaza here at the arena should be inside at a watering hole somewhere? Why would you stand outside in this?

What happened to spring in this town anyway? That's one of the joys of playoff hockey, isn't it? The folks from Philly are snickering because the high temperature was 80 there today. Granted, it's supposed to be 53 range for Game Five on Friday but what we've had here has been ridiculous with the rain, wind, thunderstorms and Monday's snow.

The Bisons were supposed to be having Kids Week with ice cream giveaways all week. Yeah, right. Banged again today after playing two yesterday in 30-degree weather.

So maybe through all this we can agree it's hockey weather after all. By this point in the series, it's hard to have anything insightful to say. One thing that stick out to me is that the Sabres have to find more offense -- actually any offense -- from their top forwards.

They have seven goals in the series, with one each from the likes of Cody McCormick, Patrick Kaleta, Nathan Gerbe and Andrej Sekera. Thomas Vanek has two, both on the power play, and is minus-4. Drew Stafford has the other. Jason Pominville, Brad Boyes and Tim Connolly have yet to score, with Connolly's goalless streak in the playoffs at 26 games. Paul Gaustad hasn't scored either but that's nothing new -- 0 goals in 34 career playoff games. As well as he's playing, I'm not thinking the Sabres are long for these playoffs if Marc-Andre Gragnani continues to be their leading scorers.

The Flyers, meanwhile, continue to try to get through this series without Chris Pronger and take another huge step in that regard tonight. They were brutally mediocre (9-9-7) over the last 25 games but they're finding their stride. Bad news for the Sabres.

Be sure to check out the archive of tonight's pregame chat by going to this link. And if you missed the chat, be sure to join us Friday night at 6:30 for 30 minutes prior to Game Five.

Sabres starters: Gerbe-Connolly-Stafford? (Hmmm). Leopold-Gragnani. Goal: Miller
Flyers starters: Carcillo-Betts-Powe-O'Donnell-Meszaros. Goal: Boucher. 

Game on.

---Mike Harrington

Third Period

Of note: First off, the Caps have scored three goals in the first 12 1/2 minutes of the third to wipe out their 3-0 deficit and tie the Rangers, 3-3. Wow. ... Back here, Van Riemsdyk leads all players with six shots on goal and has been great again. Best player in the series by a lot. ... Pominville leads Buffalo with three shots. Connolly leads the forwards with 12:26 and that's a joke because he has been terrible most of the night. ... Butler has played a game-high 17:42. Flyers have 14 blocked shots. Sabres have a 20-15 lead in hits and faceoffs are split, 19-19.

9:32 p.m: The puck is dropped.

17:51 left: PP lousy so far. Puck knocked out of zone three times, Butler offside another. One shot. Connolly also passed up a wide-open one from 10 feet. That's why he never scores in the playoffs.

15:00 left: Lots of boos. The Flyers knocked the puck out of the zone 13 times - 13! -- after Buffalo got it in. Sabres had just two shots on the five-minute penalty, Flyers one. Richards was literally jumping up and down in the box as the clock expired. Now, it's five minutes less off the clock but you could have grabbed this game by the throat too. And you would think the Flyers have some momentum now. The crowd is quiet.

13:25 left: Sloppy, sloppy. Icing on Buffalo. 

12:04 left: Caps-Rangers going to overtime. Incredible. Bergenheim goal with 3:17 left pulls Lightning into 2-2 tie with Pens after they were down, 2-0. Crazy night so far.

10:00 left: Sabres holding on. Shots are 4-3 for Buffalo.

9:37 left: Miller with the save on Versteeg from the slot.

8:50 left: Save of the SERIES: Miller stones Briere all alone in front with two dekes, snaring it with the glove. The crowd is wild now. Who made that horrible giveaway at the line? Gaustad? That puck has GOT to get out of the zone there. No excuse.

6:29 left: Shots are 6-4 for Flyers.

5:37 left: Boucher stops Pominville slapper and Ennis just misses rebound.

5:21 left: Ennis stopped on breakaway by Boucher. 

5:03 left: Another SENSATIONAL STOP by Miller. Diving to his right on a rebound to rob Richards. We got "Ry-an Mil-ler, Ry-an Mil-ler, Ry-an Mil-ler" chants going. Wow.

4:01 left: Kaleta wipes out a great Vanek chance alone in front by wiping out in the crease and knocking the net off. Untouched. 

3:00 left: Flyers nearly had too many men on the ice. Faceoff in Philly zone.

1:20 left: Boucher out.

1:12 left: Faceoff in Buffalo zone. Timeout, Flyers.

30.8 left: Miller survives scramble and spikes puck out of the crowd of players. Crowd chanting his name again. Faceoff to Miller's right. They're checking the clock. We think it ran. They're putting it back to 32.6.

18: Gaustad post on empty net


Second Period

8:37 p.m. The puck is dropped. Myers has returned. But Carter has NOT.

18:19 left: Niedermayer stopped from right in front. Overpassing from Gragnani. Should have shot. Then niedermayer overhandled.

17:13 left: Good stop by Miller on Carcillo on a 3-on-2. Tough time for Weber at the Flyers' line and into the Buffalo zone.

16:11 left: Carter has a right knee injury. But the Flyers say he might return. They said lower body but it's pretty clear on replay what happened when he collided with Myers.

15:11 left: How about the Rangers leading the Caps, 3-0, at MSG? Pressure building on No. 1 seeded Washington again.

14:50 left: Miller stands up for a good stop on Hartnell. Sabres still treating the puck like a hot potato too much. One press box wag said hand grenade to me during the intermission. They're definitely jittery with it. Miller has been strong so far.

13:30 left: McCormick and Grier on a 2-on-1. That took forever. Shot wide.

10:52 left: Pominville slapper stopped. Shots are 17-15, Buffalo. Some good work by the Sabres in transition and I was really impressed with the backchecking on Vanek a couple shifts ago as he came back into the Buffalo zone and stole the puck. Key play. Never shows up in any stat column but you have to have them.

9:11 left: We're just past the halfway mark. Shots are 5-5 in this period and 18-16 for Buffalo.

8:21 left: Powe off the post after a sequence where Connolly got beat twice. Then Miller clubbed Carcillo in the crease and got help from Weber. Carcillo and Miller get roughing. Gerbe serves Miller. Weber got nothing and Laviolette isn't happy. He's getting an audience with the officials.

6:28 left: Miller stands up to stop Coburn. Flyers have 21-18 edge in shots and getting better of the play again.  Miller has been strong in his crease tonight and not flopping too much. Good to see.

6:13 left: Great stop by Boucher on Myers. Gerbe just fails to handle rebound.

5:41 left: Myers for elbowing. Flyers to the PP. They're 0-2 in this one and 2-20 in the series.

3:00 left: Sabres survive the power play. Another terrible weak play with the puck by Connolly gave the Flyers another 30 seconds of zone time.

2:14 left: Flyers nailed for too many men on the ice as they were breaking into the zone. And Gaustad-Montador alertly get Kaleta away from Carcillo, who was chirping at him trying to lure him into an even-up deal.

2:03 left: Two goals in 57-second span early in the third by Caps at MSG. Rangers' lead cut to 3-2.

2.8 seconds left: WOW. Kaleta tries to hit Richards near the bench but Richards puts up the elbow and drills him in the face. FIVE-MINUTE MAJOR. 

End-2nd: Sabres hold the 1-0 lead. Shots were 10-8 for Philly and it's 21-21 through two. Sabres will have 4:58 left on their power play. Huge chance.

First Period

7:40 p.m. The puck is dropped. By the way, Doug Allen did not stand on the Sabres logo mat at center ice while singing the anthem. Tara Minogue did the other night, just for the record. Hmmmm. Wonder if the players are gonna fine her 20 bucks? 

16:00 left: Big, physical start by the Sabres. Gerbe nailed Betts, Kaleta drilled van Riemsdyk and Grier on Versteeg. And the lines are downright goofy. They rolled Gerbe-Connolly-Stafford, Vanek-Gaustad-Kaleta, Ennis-Niedermayer-Pominville, McCormick-Boyes-Grier.

14:05 left: Weber for tripping along the boards in the Buffalo zone. Just inside the blueline. Ticky-tack. Zherdev took a nice dive to accentuate the stick. Remember when someone asked in the chat about the officiating and I said I was OK with it? Not there.

12:00 left: Sabres survive as Butler makes a great save on Leino in the crease with Miller out of position.

11:27 left: Flyers got no shots on the PP. It's 4-1 for Buffalo through 8 1/2 minutes.

10:22 left: The Sabres make the breakthough and it's from a top-six forward. Badly needed. Great work from behind the net by Ennis and great veteran patience from Niedermayer to hold the puck and slide it over to Pominville for a tap-in at the edge of the crease. Sabres lead, 1-0 and the "Boo-chay" chants are out. 

10:00 left: Grier and Boyes stopped from in tight.

9:42 left: Carcillo goes for goalie interference even though he landed right on his butt. Gotta see the replay on that one. Sabres to the power play.

9:01 left: Stafford for interference at center ice as Versteeg tries to get away. Total ticky-tack. Lindy was furious over that one.

7:18 left: Van Riemsdyk with a wide-open net -- but a sliding toe of Myers' got the puck and it went over th net. Sabres were in trouble on a 3-on-1 but Butler broke that up.

7:00 left: Sabres and the crowd upset as Miller gets sticked in the mask by Versteeg. Except it wasn't. Weber got him.

5:47 left: Shots are 7-6 for Buffalo. Flyers have been in control since Carcillo got out of the box.

5:37 left: Boucher for tripping Grier. Comes two seconds after a Myers snapshot from the slot beats Boucher -- but cranks off the post.

4:18 left: Versteeg gets a backhander on Miller. Save. Walked right around Connolly, who was lolly-gagging after the puck at the Buffalo line.

3:58 left: Boyes off the post on his own rebound. Sabres have had chances for the 2-0 lead. Big chances. Haven't converted.

3:00 left: Save on Niedermayer, who has been terrific again, as he cut down through the left circle. Shots are 10-8, Buffalo. Niedermayer spent 50 games doing absolutely nothing and has been very good for more than a month.

2:12 left: Myers down in front of the net. Got drilled high in a collision by Carter, right in the jaw. Last thing Sabres need is another D-man out. Bet Myers is headed to the quiet room.

End-1st: Sabres survive with their 1-0 lead. Shots are 13-11 for Buffalo. Flyers much better last couple minutes. Leopold has been pretty brutal with the puck and keeps getting beat. Looks nowhere near 100 percent.

Pregame chat with News hockey reporters at 7 p.m.

Pronger improving but still out

Chris Pronger continues to improve and took several wrist shots during the Flyers' pregame skate today. He's not playing tonight in Game Four but it's looking much more likely that he will, in fact, play in this series. In fact, there's plenty of chatter in the Flyers' locker room that Game Five is a distinct possibility if the Sabres pull even in the series tonight.

I've felt all along, however, that the Flyers' goal in this series has been to get through it without using Pronger at all if that's possible. If they take a 3-1 lead, they're getting very close to that goal.

As is his custom, coach Peter Laviolette would not provide any clues. The Flyers ferret all injury updates through GM Paul Holmgren rather than Laviolette.

"Just having Chris on the ice is always a positive," Laviolette said. "I can't shed absolutely any light [on his status]. Not allowed."

As for Game Four, it's a huge game for the Flyers. Take a 3-1 lead in Buffalo and they might not have to come back here for Game Six on Easter Sunday.

"I'm not sure how the game will be played but we're looking at it as an opportunity, as a big game for us to get a chance to get that third win," Laviolette said.  "We want to make sure we're ready to play, establish our game and do what we need to do to be succesful."

To hear more from Laviolette on the Flyers' playoff experience, dealing with the Sabres' use of defensemen in the rush, the penalty-killers on both sides, and the playoff magic of Danny Briere, click below.

Peter Laviolette

---Mike Harrington

Pregame chat with News hockey reporters begins at 6:30 p.m.

Boucher in goal for Flyers, Bobrovsky No. 3

No surprise that Brian Boucher was the first goalie off the ice for the Flyers following their pregame skate and he will get the call tonight after getting the win in Game Two in relief. What was a surprise was that Michael Leighton had a stall in the locker room and Sergei Bobrovsky was basically relegated to the closet.

That means that Leighton, who stopped the Flyers to the Stanley Cup finals last year, will be the backup tonight and Bobrovsky is the No. 3 man and will not dress. Coach Peter Laviolette confirmed Boucher was his starter but would not comment on his backup.

"I thought Brian came in his last couple times and has done a really nice job for us in there," Laviolette said. "He's on top of his game, in charge of his net, bailed us out of a couple situations and I really feel he deserves to play."

GM Paul Holmgren said Andreas Nodl (facial injury) is out tonight and it's expected Nikolay Zhredev will be his replacement.

Hear Laviolette's session below.

---Mike Harrington

Peter Laviolette

Pronger out but Flyers deny change in status

Flyers GM Paul Holmgren met with the media and confirmed that Chris Pronger will be out again tonight, but Holmgren reacted angrily with a Philadelphia TV report that Pronger has had another setback with his broken hand, a second break that required a plate to be put into his hand. 

"It seems people can throw anything they want at the wall and see if it sticks,"  Holmgren said. "He's not coming along as fast as everyone thought at the time the initial injury happened It is what it is. When he feels like he can play, he'll play."

Pronger, who will not be speaking with the media until he plays, did have his longest skate with the team in quite a while today and even shot a few bucks. It was the most encouraging sign the Flyers have seen that he might play in this series.

"Prongs looks good on the ice," said coach Peter Laviolette. "He's been skating for a while so his skating is good. He moved the puck around and was involved in our drill. That's the first time that he's been out there with us."

--Mike Harrington

Flyers update: Pronger out again, Boucher likely in

The Flyers had an optional skate of their own Sunday morning in Voorhees, N.J. before coming to Buffalo. Injured defenseman Chris Pronger did not skate but did make the trip here. He's still not practicing with the team and will not play in Game Three. As each day passes with Pronger not practicing, you wonder if he's going to play in this series at all. The latest word is the team is holding out hope for Game Four on Wednesday. We'll see.

In goal, Sergei Bobrovsky was on the ice taking extra work Sunday after getting pulled in the first period Saturday. Brian Boucher took the day off, a sign that he's likely getting the start Monday. Boucher stopped 20 of 21 shots after coming in with the Flyers in a 3-2 hole.

Forward Andreas Nodl, limited to just 3:43 of ice time in Game Two due to an upper-body injury, may be out Monday and would be replaced by either healthy scratch Nikolay Zherdev or tough guy Jody Shelley, who has been out with a broken orbital bone.

---Mike Harrington

Sound from the Flyers' locker room

PHILADELPHIA -- Some audio from around the Flyers' locker room after their 5-4 win over the Sabres.

Danny Briere

Brian Boucher

Ville Leino

Vote for your three stars

News hockey reporters conduct pregame chat at 4:30 p.m. today

Harrington guest on Talk Radio AM 640 in Toronto

The News' Mike Harrington was a guest on Talk Radio AM 640 in Toronto Friday night. He discussed the Sabres' Game One victory and looked ahead at the rest of the series with the Flyers.

Click here to download the audio and take it with you

Pronger likely out for Game Two

VORHEES, N.J. -- We've already got an early verdict on perhaps the key reason the media has all piled across the Walt Whitman Bridge to the Flyers' Skate Zone: Chris Pronger is not going to play in Game Two.

The Flyers defenseman just completed a 50-minute skate here but did only one stickhandling drill about halfway through the session. He had extremely limited puck work, taking it one time and pushing it against the boards before skating away and not touching it again.

The Sabres are set to practice in the 11:30 range and the Flyers will go at noon.

---Mike Harrington

Live pregame chat with News hockey reporters begins at 7 p.m.

Confirmation: Pronger is out

PHILADELPHIA -- The Flyers have taken the ice at the Wells Fargo Center and Chris Pronger is NOT with them. So he's definitely a scratch for tonight. Mike Richards, who missed yesterday's workout with what he said is a head cold, is on the ice and should be good to go. 

Flyers GM Paul Holmgren confirms Pronger's absence via Twitter.

---Mike Harrington

Philly Daily News: Pronger out tonight

PHILADELPHIA -- WIP, the Flyers' flagship radio station, reported yesterday that Chris Pronger would not play tonight and, in fact, might need until Game Five to play in this series.  The Philadelphia Daily News isn't going that far but the paper is also reporting this morning that Pronger is out tonight.

From the story: "Officially, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said Pronger would be a game-time decision tonight. Unfortunately for the Flyers, Pronger isn't going to go from no stickhandling and no shooting to ripping pucks from the point in the playoffs overnight."

The Flyers skate at 10:15. We'll see. Danny Syvret is expected to take Pronger's place on defense.

---Mike Harrington

Get your Sabres-Flyers preview section at newsstands

PHILADELHPHIA -- Be sure to head to your newsstands for today's Sabres-Flyers preview section, a Buffalo News print exclusive. Today's paper also features the first edition of our Sabres poster series featuring S for Scorers.

Also in today's print edition, John Vogl reports on how newcomer Brad Boyes is pumped for what will bejust the fifth postseason game of his career. The Sabres spent a good deal of time at practice Wednesday working on odd-man rushes because they know the Flyers thrive on them.

Both teams will skate today at the Wells Fargo Center, with the Flyers taking the ice at 10:15 while the Sabres will be following in the 11:30 range. The Sabres have made their postseason media guide a downloadable PDF file at this link. Caution: It's big, over 21 MB.

---Mike Harrington

Party in the Plaza returns for home games

The Party in the Plaza is back for the playoffs and the Sabres are expanding the parties by adding a second video screen to accommodate more fans.

Pre-game festivities will begin at 5 p.m. for Games Three and Four, which will be on April 18 and 20. The parties take place in the plaza near Perry and Illinois Streets and will feature live music from Lance Diamond until 30 minutes before puck drop.

"Terry, Kim and I continue to be blown away by the extraordinary support of the Sabres Nation," said Sabres President Ted Black, referring to owner Terry Pegula and his wife, Kim. "The concept of hosting an outdoor playoff party originated in Buffalo and over the years has been copied in other NHL cities. We want to take it to another level by providing two outdoor screens so that as many fans as possible can experience ‘Hockey Heaven’ firsthand."

The parties are free and game tickets are not required. At game time, MSG’s feed will be shown on two 9x12-foot video screens. Food, beverages and merchandise will be available for purchase before and during the game and there will also be special guest appearances from several Sabres personalities.

The party for Game Six, if necessary, will begin at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Apr. 24 for the 3 p.m. game.

---Mike Harrington

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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl |

About Sabres Edge

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz |