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Playoff Preview: Flyers and Sabres

Stanley_Cup_PlayoffsA look at the opening round meeting.
(7) Buffalo Sabres vs. (2) Philadelphia Flyers
 
@ Philadelphia, Thursday 4 / 14, 7:30pm
@ Philadelphia, Saturday, 4 / 16  5pm
@ Buffalo, Monday, 4 / 18 7pm
@ Buffalo, Wednesday 4 / 20 7:30pm
@ Philadelphia, Friday 4 / 22 7:30pm  **
@ Buffalo, Sunday 4 / 24 3pm  **
@ Philadelphia, Tuesday 4 / 26 TBD  **

** If Necessary

Philadelphia 47-23-12 106 points / Atlantic Division Champions / 3-4-3 in last ten games.
Buffalo 43-29-10 96 points / 3rd place Northeast Division / 8-1-1 in last ten games.

Of all the teams to play in the first round, this is the one the Flyers may have wanted the least. The NHL playoffs are all about goaltending  and the Sabres have a definite edge there. Ryan Miller is a game stealer. He won 34 of the 66 games he played in with a goals against of 2.59. He is a former Vezina Trophy winner  that lead the Americans to a silver medal in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Keep in mind he did suffer an upper body injury late in the season, but seems to have recovered from that. His backup, Johnas Enroth chipped in with a 9-2 record with a 2.73 goals against.
The Flyers will counter with rookie Sergei Bobrovsky who recorded 28 wins with a goals against of 2.59 in 54 games. But "Bob" was yanked early in the season finale against the Islanders after giving up 3 goals on 10 shots in just 12 minutes. Prior to that he gave up 4 goals each in loses to Buffalo and Ottawa down the stretch. Back up and veteran Brian Boucher is close by. Boucher posted 18 wins in 34 games with a goals against of 2.42.
On defense, the edge goes to Philadelphia....even without Chris Pronger. In his first year as a Flyer, Andrej Meszaros was voted the teams top blue liner and lead the way with 8 goals and a plus 30. Matt Carle very quietly had a solid year, also a plus 30 with 40 points. Braydon Coburn has the size and strength to neutralize the oppositions top scorer. Kimmo Timonen is steady back there and Sean O'Donnell adds a degree of toughness. Erik Gustafsson, Danny Syvert and Nick Boytnton will have to step up until Pronger returns.
That leads us to Pronger, out the last month with a broken hand. Will he be back? He says so. When? Nobody knows. But when he does, how effective will he be holding a stick and shooting on the power play? He is key there. And the fact that the Flyers play with a little more edge when the big guy is on the ice.
Buffalo is lead by young, 6'8 Tyler Meyers. The former first round pick is also a Calder Trophy winner as the leagues top rookie last season. Myers 10 goals is second to Jordan Leopold's 13. Leopold is trying to return from a broken hand suffered in late March. His return is uncertain. You won't get alot of offense from Andrej Sekera or Steve Montador, but their steady with good plus/minus numbers.
When Danny Briere and Chris Drury both left Buffalo for free agency, the Sabres set their sights on re-signing one guy long term right away: Thomas Vanek. He has responded with 136 goals in the four seasons since. Briere in the same time span? 103. Along with Vanek, Buffalo has former first round pick Drew Stafford. (31 goals) Stafford had not scored more than 20 goals in a year in his 4 previous NHL season. Jason Pominville and Tyler Ennis are both 20 goal scorers. And 5'5 Nathan Gerbe showed the Flyers his goal scoring skills on the final weekend of the regular season.
The Flyers are just plain deep at the forward position. Four lines with four different styles with the top three able to score goals on a consistant basis. The team has 8 forwards with at least 19 goals each. Plus the addition of Kris Versteeg at the trade deadline along with his Stanley Cup ring won in Chicago last year only makes this group scarier.
For the Sabres to win? Ryan Miller has to be well...Ryan Miller. If the Flyer offense gets going, he will be tested. Second line scorers like Pominville, Ennis and Brad Boyes have to score. Vanek and Staffard need help. The Sabres also will need to continue to take advantage of the power play opportunities. They did not got a lot of chances this season but when they did they did well.
For the Flyers to win? Protect the goaltender! Clear shooting lanes and clear any rebound from out in front of the net. Expect Danny Briere to be big in this series against his former team. The power play needs to improve and take advantage of the fact that the Sabres are one of the leagues worst at giving up short handed goals and the Flyers are one of the leagues best scoring them. JVR are you listening? Now is the time to play consistently like the number two overall pick in the NHL draft. And getting Chris Pronger back will help.
Jeff's Prediction: The Flyers go limping into the post season. The Sabres steal one of the first to two games in Philly and send the Flyboys home for the summer. Sabres in six. Boy I hope I'm worng.
 

Holiday Concert Music

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WNPV AM 1440 Tune in to "Comment Please by Univest" tomorrow at 12:40 PM when Darryl Berger's guest will be George Andrew, author of "Eternity and Readiness." To find out more, visit his website www.georgeandrewauthor.com.
The Gospel of Mark – Eternity and Readiness georgeandrewauthor.com The Gospel of Mark – Eternity and Readiness
WNPV AM 1440
Click here to support From happiness to nothing in 1 day by Erika Kershaw www.gofundme.com Im sure you have heard about the montgomery county shooting spree. These two little girls Kayla age 5 and Shannon age 9 were caught in the middle of this and lost their mother, father, grandmother, great grandmother, aunt, uncle, and cousin. Including these girls losing their loved ones Kayla als...
WNPV AM 1440
TAP into North Penn Press release from Lansdale Police: Due to the recent tragic events here in Lansdale and surrounding communities, the Lansdale Police Department has asked Victim Services Center (VSC) to give a presentation of the services they offer on Monday evening, December 22nd at 6:00 PM at the Lansdale Parks & Recreation building located at the intersection of East Seventh Street and Lansdale Avenue in Lansdale Borough. Victim Services Center (VSC) is a non-profit organization located in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania that provides free and confidential comprehensive support services such as: Crisis Counseling Many people who are impacted by violence experience anxiety, fear, confusion and anger. A crisis occurs when people no longer feel able to cope in the ways they could previously. Through crisis counseling we provide support and information to community members who are in crisis as a result of victimization. Clients learn to reduce their anxiety and access important resources. Supportive Counseling Once the crisis has subsided, people find they have been impacted by victimization in many different ways. Some people feel very angry, some feel powerless, and some blame them-selves for the actions of others. Through supportive counseling, clients learn new skills for coping with stressors in their lives. Clients gain increased feelings of safety and self– confidence. Chief Robert McDyre – “The effects a heart-rending event such as the one we have recently experienced often manifest themselves after the event has transpired and the initial shock dissipates. It’s typical to experience rage, grief and many other emotions. VSC is at the forefront in helping those affected put the pieces back to together.”
WNPV AM 1440 For those of you interested in donating to Anthony Flick, go to http://www.gofundme.com/Fundsforflick.
Click here to support Funds for Flick by Melissa Mecca www.gofundme.com On December 15th a tragedy struck a Souderton Borough family. A deranged man entered the Flick family residence he shot and killed Anthony's Mother and Father. Anthony was shot while defending his fourteen year old sister Nina. The shooter cut off three of Anthony's fingers, stabbed him and ultim...
WNPV AM 1440 A group of students from Souderton High School has set up a fund for Anthony Flick, the injured victim of yesterday's rampage, at "GoFundMe." If you wish to contribute to this young man who has lost so much, the account is called "Funds for Flick."
WNPV AM 1440 We are passing along this message from Christ Lutheran Church in Kulpsville: "Based on the recent events that occurred in our community today, Christ Lutheran Church (2211 Mainland Road, Kulpsville) will be open from 6:30 PM until 8 PM this evening for prayer and reflection. There will be a brief prayer service at 7 PM. There will be disaster chaplains on-hand for those that may need them. God's peace to you and your families."

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