All across Western New York there are people calling their mothers trying to explain why they aren't going to be there for Easter dinner tonight. The Sabres have a chance to move into the Eastern Conference Semifinals with a win over the Flyers this afternoon. They get that chance on home ice too.
The biggest news for the Sabres is that Jason Pominville will be out of the lineup for Game 6 after being sliced by a skate in Game 5. Pominville's status hasn't been updated any more than a leg laceration so we don't exactly know how bad the laceration is and whether Pominville will have any chance to return in the playoffs. Matt Ellis or Mark Mancari will return to the lineup to replace Pominville for Game 6.
The bigger news is that if there is a Game 7 or a round two, the Sabres could get more help in the lineup with the returns of Jochen Hecht and possibly Derek Roy. Roy would be returning to the lineup for the first time in four months while Hecht has been out since the end of March with a concussion. The return of these two centers will help the Sabres greatly down the middle as they have been awful thin at center for the entire month.
For the Philadelphia Flyers, the big question is who will start in goal. Brian Boucher was pulled in Game 5 for Michael Leighton and came in to replace him. History would suggest that Leighton would get the start in net, but with no morning skate today and the way coach Peter Laviolette thinks, it could be Joe Schmo from Kokomo starting in net for Game 6.
James van Riemsdyk has been the best Flyer player on the ice that Sabres fans really haven't noticed. Most of Sabres' fans angst has come to either former Sabre Daniel Briere or captain Mike Richards. JVR has two goals and leads the team in shots in the playoffs thus far. He also is a Sabre killer in a sense though most of it was inadvertant. It was his skate blade that took out Pominville in the first period and his shot that Leopold took off the face that caused him to miss some time in the game.
Game time is 3:00 pm today, right in the middle of Easter dinner, on NBC and our Gamethread will start at 2:30 if you can peel yourself away.