NHL

Ennis lifts Sabres over Flyers in Game 5

Tyler Ennis prevented Buffalo from squandering a three-goal lead, and more importantly, gave the Sabres a 3-2 series lead over the Philadelphia Flyers with his overtime goal on Friday night.
Buffalo players celebrate one of three goals on Brian Boucher before the Philadelphia Flyers goalie was pulled. ((Bruce Bennett/Getty Images))

Tyler Ennis prevented Buffalo from squandering a three-goal lead, and more importantly, gave the Sabres a 3-2 series lead over the Philadelphia Flyers with his overtime goal on Friday night.

Ennis scored his second goal at 5:31 of the extra session, a rebound off Mike Weber's point shot to give the Sabres a 4-3 victory.

"All I know, is I wanted to score the winner," Ennis said. "I just wanted to be the guy who ended it."

Sabres goalie Ryan Miller made 36 saves, including several big stops on a late third period Philadelphia power play.

Buffalo led 3-0 just over 15 minutes into the game.

Tyler Ennis and Thomas Vanek scored on two soft goals within five minutes of the opening face off, and Marc-Andre Gragnani chased Brian Boucher from the net with a power-play goal later in the first.

"I'd very much like to redeem myself," Boucher said. "Like I said, it was my responsibility tonight. I take ownership in that. To put your team in a hole like that, they didn't deserve that."

Enter Michael Leighton, the Flyers netminder who played the majority of the team's playoff games last year as they reached the Stanley Cup final.

Leighton signed a two-year deal in the summer, then hurt his back and spent all but one game in the minors due in part to the emergence of rookie Sergei Bobrovsky.

Philadelphia has used three goalies already in this series, with Bobrovsky shunted aside after a poor Game 2 performance.

Leighton stopped the first 20 shots he faced, and at the other end the Flyers finally cracked Miller after a long drought.

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James van Riemsdyk scored Philadelphia's first goal on Miller in just over 111 minutes, and Andrej Meszaros quickly followed. Daniel Briere, denied by Miller late in Game 4 on a breakaway, tied the score early in the third.

The rally was reminiscent of the team's famous comeback last spring from a 3-0 deficit in Game 7 against the Boston Bruins, and it also followed comebacks of three goals or more earlier this week by Washington and San Jose.

But unlike the Capitals and Sharks, the Flyers couldn't close the deal.

Game 6 will take place Sunday afternoon in Buffalo.

Briere after the loss referred to the Bruins series, in which the Flyers also trailed in games 3-0.

"We can't hang our heads," he said. "We were in a worse position last year, so if there's a group of guys that can do it, I believe in this group here."

Philadelphia was playing without defenceman Chris Pronger and forward Jeff Carter, both of whom reportedly won't be back until the next round at the earliest.

The Sabres lost key forward Jason Pominville early in the second, when it appeared he was clipped on the leg by the skate of van Riemsdyk.

"It doesn't look too good for him," coach Lindy Ruff said. "We'll know more about that tomorrow."

Boucher allowed two of the softest goals of the season only 1:27 apart early in the first. Ennis and Vanek scored after Boucher let the pucks knock off his leg and into the net.

Gragnani banked the puck off the post past a surprised Boucher on a power play for a 3-0 lead late in the first and the Sabres were clearly in control.

That was all for Boucher. He whacked a row of sticks with his goalie stick, kicked the sticks and tossed his helmet inside the tunnel leading to the locker room.

The Flyers outshot the Sabres 15-5 in the second and appeared in control.

Claude Giroux set up the first two Philadelphia goals, but couldn't beat Miller late in the third after splitting the Buffalo defence and skating in alone.

With files from The Associated Press

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