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Flyers' victory eliminates Sabres from playoff contention

The SportsXchange

PHILADELPHIA -- The Flyers are heading to Pittsburgh to start the playoffs. The Sabres are going home to watch on television.

Matt Read scored the go-ahead goal with 4:21 left in the third period to lift Philadelphia to a 2-1 victory over Buffalo on Thursday night.

The loss, coupled with Washington's 4-2 win over Florida, knocked the Sabres out of playoff contention. The Capitals secured the final berth.

"It's embarrassing," Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller said.

Marc-Andre Bourdon scored the tying goal for the Flyers early in the third, and Ville Leino scored the only goal for the Sabres, who entered the game tied with Washington for the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.

The Flyers secured fifth place in the East. They'll face the Penguins in the first round next week. The Penguins beat the New York Rangers to clinch fourth place and get home-ice advantage against Philadelphia.

The Flyers are 5-0 at Pittsburgh's new arena so it's not much of an advantage.

"Playoffs are totally different," said Flyers forward Jaromir Jagr, a former superstar with the Penguins. "We've played pretty good hockey the whole season, but we're going to face probably the best team in the league right now, definitely the hottest. We have to be ready."

The Flyers and Penguins finish the regular-season on Saturday in a game that has no implications in the playoff standings.

Read was stoned on a shorthanded breakaway in the first period. He made up for it with the game-winner. Read took an outlet pass from Jake Voracek, skated around Robyn Regehr, broke in alone and beat Miller with a forehand shot for his 24th goal.

"I kind of got lucky," Read said. "It was in the air, I whacked at it, he tried to step up on me and hit me and I snuck through. I had a poke check in the back of my mind so I wanted to shoot it. I was just looking for a hole. He had his glove up high and I went underneath it."

Regehr blamed himself.

"I have to win that one-on-one," he said. "I end up getting beat and cost us the hockey game. That was the difference."

Bourdon ripped a one-timer past Miller to tie it at 1-1 six minutes into the third. Bourdon was standing outside the left faceoff circle when he took a pass from Andreas Lilja and fired it in for his fourth goal.

Philadelphia goalie Ilya Bryzgalov made an outstanding save a few minutes later to keep it 1-1. He slid across the crease to rob Tyler Ennis on a point-blank shot.

Leino, a former Flyer, scored with 2:34 left in the second period to give the Sabres a 1-0 lead. He jammed a rebound off a shot by Drew Stafford past Bryzgalov.

Falling behind is nothing new for the Flyers. They've had to rally to win plenty of games late in the season.

"We're battling, trying to get that first goal," Read said. "We have to get the lucky bounces and start playing with the lead. We've come back a lot this year. It's part of our identity."

A shot by Jody Shelley early in the second trickled past Miller, but Buffalo's Andrej Sekera swiped the puck away just before it crossed the goal line.

It's the second straight year the Flyers eliminated Buffalo. They beat the Sabres in Game 7 of a first-round playoff series last spring.

Notes: Bryzgalov made his second straight start after missing three games with a chip fracture of his right foot. ... Before the game, Flyers All-Star Claude Giroux received the Bobby Clarke Award for team MVP. ... Leino had 21 goals in 94 games with Philadelphia from 2009-2011. ... Stafford has eight points in his last eight games. ... The Flyers swept the season series, going 4-0 against Buffalo.

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