Overwhelmed. By the Flyers. By a Game 7. By injuries. That is the word that kept popping into my head as I watched the 1st period of a game that capped what had been a really tight series. Overwhelmed. A tough way for this dreamy half a season plus to finish up.
The Flyers were better for larger stretches of play in this series and they certainly were better for almost all of game 7. When they hit the gas the Sabres had a very tough time keeping up. Overwhelmed. I didn't expect that this group of Sabres would handle this game quite so poorly. But the troubling signs were there right from the start. Giveaway after giveaway in the 1st period left almost all the opening twenty minutes being played in the Buffalo zone. As badly as it was going, and it was going badly, the Sabres were within a half minute of getting to the dressing room tied at zero. A Braydon Coburn floater that Mike Grier tried to field got by Miller and there went that.
The penalty killing sprang a leak in the 2nd, as shot lanes opened up and Philly tallied twice with the man advantage. Losing Pominville and Connolly from a unit that had been so good in the series seemed to stretch them to thin. Derek Roy, understandably, was not able to help much. The same goes for Jochen Hecht. The Sabres did generate more in the way of offense in the 2nd period but couldn't beat Brian Boucher.
The 3rd period started with a short man advantage followed by a fourth Flyers goal and the end of the night for Ryan Miller. Of the goals he gave up, only the last one would be one I would say he should've had.
So as an underdog, it turns out that when you had the chance with the lead three times at home in Game 6 to eliminate a team as good as the Flyers, you may regret letting it get away from you.
Really quite a letdown and a jarring end to such a fun, fun ride.