BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Sabres got their lucky bounce Saturday afternoon. The Philadelphia Flyers did not.
Christian Ehrhoff's fluky goal 17 seconds into the third period led the Sabres to a 1-0 victory over the Flyers at the First Niagara Center, keeping Buffalo's faint playoff hopes alive for another day.
After a faceoff win in the Philadelphia end by Steve Ott, Ehrhoff's slap shot from the point ricocheted off the boards behind the Flyers net, off goalie Steve Mason's right pad and into the net to give the Sabres the only goal of the game.
"Sometimes you get a good bounce of the boards," Ehrhoff said. "They did a good job of being in the shooting lane and I just tried to get it basically off the boards back in front of the net, and a fortunate bounce for us. It was the only goal in the game, so I'm happy with it."
The Flyers had several chances to tie in the waning moments, none closer than Daniel Briere's shot off the crossbar with one second remaining. But Philadelphia did not have luck on its side and came up short for the fourth game in a row.
"It's just the way things are going these days around here," Briere said. "It's unfortunate. But we had our chances, a lot more chances earlier in the game that we didn't capitalize on. I don't think we did enough in the offensive zone anyway to deserve the win. Got to give the Sabres credit. They came, they played hard in their building."
The Sabres received strong goaltending from backup netminder Jhonas Enroth, who made 29 saves to post his third career shutout.
Enroth had two terrific saves in the closing moments. He got in the way of Philadelphia's Kimmo Timonen's blast with less than two minutes to go and had a pad save on Wayne Simmonds with 50 seconds remaining.
And that all came after the goalie was hurt in a collision with Buffalo defenseman Mark Pysyk with 11:07 left in the third. Pysyk backed into the goaltender and Enroth suffered a neck injury. Enroth was able to stay in the game after being looked at by a trainer.
"He was solid tonight," Sabres interim coach Ron Rolston said. "His last group of starts here he's just been really competitive. He's been really sharp, focused. He's been tracking the puck extremely well and just finding those second pucks around the crease."
Buffalo improved to 17-19-6 with the victory, keeping its slim playoff chances alive. With 40 points, Buffalo is four points out of the final playoff spot in the East with six games to play -- though the current eight seed, the New York Rangers, have two games in hand and played Saturday night.
The Flyers (17-21-3), on the other hand, are all but officially eliminated from the playoffs after losing their fourth consecutive game. Philadelphia fought hard to get back into the playoff race with a four-game winning streak that carried over into the beginning of April, but its recent skid has them on the outside of the playoff picture looking in.
Philadelphia's 37 points put them seven points behind the Rangers with seven games remaining.
"It's tough," Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said after the game. "I've said this a few times over the past few weeks -- nobody likes the position we're in. It's tough to take. Scoring three goals in the last four games is, I'm sure real tough to take for the players, too. It's about digging in now and playing hard, all you can do."
In the four-game losing streak, the Flyers have a total of three goals -- which is a surprising turn of events given the offensive firepower the Flyers have.
"It's tough to understand with all the players that we have," Briere said. "All the offense that we have up front, it's been frustrating in that regard. I wish I had an easy answer for you."
One positive in a disappointing loss for Philadelphia was the play of Mason, who stopped 20 shots in his second start since being acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets.
"He played well, especially in the second period," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. "There were a couple breakdowns and odd-man rushes that came his way and he did a real nice job."
NOTES: Defenseman Chad Ruhwedel played in his first NHL game after signing a two-year entry-level contract with the Sabres earlier Saturday. Ruhwedel recently wrapped up his third college season at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. He had 23 points (seven goals, 16 assists) and 20 penalty minutes in 41 games this past season. ... Tyler Myers, Ville Leino and Luke Adam were scratched for the Sabres. Myers is out for the season after sustaining a broken bone in his left leg on Thursday against Montreal. ... Mike Knuble, Maxime Talbot, Bruno Gervais and Zac Rinaldo were scratched by the Flyers. ... This was the third and final meeting between the teams this season
By The Sports Xchange
Publish Date: April 13, 2013 07:20:26 PM
Carom shot lifts Sabres past Flyers
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