NHL Playoffs: Flyers force Game 7 with OT victory

Flyers 5, Sabres 4 (OT)

What went right …

1 Pronger the decoy

Chris Pronger made his triumphant return to the Flyers’ lineup yesterday, but the de facto captain seemed a decoy more than anything else. He saw just five shifts in 4 minutes, 33 seconds of ice time — and was called for a slashing call late in the first period, which negated a 5-on-3 advantage for the Flyers. All that being said, his leadership was on display all afternoon and he was one of the first to rush the pile following Ville Leino’s game-winning goal in overtime.

2 Goalie by committee

Peter Laviolette has a reputation as one of the best strategists in the NHL. Still, his handling of the merry-go-round in net is mind-boggling. After yanking Brian Boucher early in Game 5, the coach turned to Michael Leighton – with one previous start all season – in Game 6. Leighton was atrocious, giving up three goals on eight shots in the first period, and Laviolette was forced to go back to Boucher. The wily veteran responded by turning away 24-of-25 shots faced. Sergei Bobrovsky? Well, the rookie remains isolated in Siberia, not even dressing once again.

3 James and the giant playoffs

James van Riemsdyk has been the most valuable Flyer so far this postseason. The 21-year-old started the second period with a nifty wrister – his third goal of the playoffs – to cut the Sabres lead to 3-2 and finished with 10 shots on goal. His 38 total shots on goal in this series leads the entire NHL.

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