PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 26: Philadelphia Flyers fans celebrate during the second period of their game against the Buffalo Sabres in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center on April 26, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
After a day of detoxing from this playoff series, we take a look at what went wrong for the Sabres one last time in their playoff series against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Inability To Hold Leads
The Buffalo Sabres had a 3-0 lead in Game 5 and at one point in Game 6 had a 3-1 lead. Both of those leads eventually evaporated as the Sabres allowed the Flyers get back in the game. The Sabres were able to pull out Game 5 in overtime, but the Flyers were just too much in the pivotal Game 6.
The Sabres and Flyers were relatively evenly matched during the series, with only two of the games being won by two or more goals. The fact that both of the teams were able to keep the series tight meant that any game really came down to a coin flip more toward the end of the game.
Ryan Miller was not someone to blame for the inability to hold leads just due to the fact that he shutout the Flyers for two of the three wins. The Flyers offense was just more potent and more weapons that the Sabres couldn't end up stopping.
The Flyers Offensive Firepower
Daniel Briere had six goals in seven game and James vsn Riemsdyk had four goals. Along with Mike Richards, Jeff Carter when he played, Scott Hartnell, and others were able to find the back of the net. The Flyers looked like the more experienced team in the offensive zone at times, just keeping the Sabres hemmed in their zone for minutes at a time.
The Sabres was able to shut down the Flyers for two games but when the Flyers offense scored, the Sabres offense really had a hard time keeping up. The Flyers scored 22 goals in seven games, but as we mentioned two of those games were shutouts.
Injuries, Injuries, Injuries
At one point in this series, the Sabres top three centers were Matt Ellis, Cody McCormick, and Rob Niedermayer. When the Sabres lose their second top forward on the penalty kill in Jason Pominville in Game 5 and another key center in Tim Connolly in Game 6, the already thin Sabres were going to be scrambling to try and find someone to fill those key roles.
While Derek Roy and Jochen Hecht returned for Game 7, both of those players really were non-factors as they were returning to a lineup after being out for four months and a month respectively. The Sabres offense just seemed out of sync and not on the same page when it came to creating chances in Game 7.
With the end of the Sabres season here, the coverage at Die By The Blade won't stop. We will keep you abreast of all of the offseason moves the team makes and be your spot for all of the draft coverage in June and free agent signings in July. The staff here and myself thank everyone for stopping by in the last month as we had the biggest month ever for the site in the month of April.