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Flyers lose to Sabres in Black Friday game

FOR THE FLYERS, a Black Friday matinee has become - in just a short time - a tradition on the schedule.

Buffalo Sabres' Craig Rivet, left, and Philadelphia Flyers' Daniel Carcillo fight in the second period. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Buffalo Sabres' Craig Rivet, left, and Philadelphia Flyers' Daniel Carcillo fight in the second period. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)Read more

FOR THE FLYERS, a Black Friday matinee has become - in just a short time - a tradition on the schedule.

Yesterday afternoon, their matchup with the Buffalo Sabres fell in line with a rivalry between two hated clubs that is steeped in another tradition: one of blood, broken bones and brain-jarring collisions.

This time, though, the game didn't end the way most home games against Buffalo (43-19-15, all-time) do. Despite a gritty effort, the Flyers received a nasty dose of their own medicine in a game that featured five major penalties and two misconducts.

The Sabres rode on the back of Tim Connolly, who dealt the Flyers more punches than they could withstand in a four-point effort as Buffalo won, 4-2, at the Wachovia Center.

The Flyers allowed Buffalo to snap a four-game winless streak while falling to 1-4 in their last five games.

"It's always a tough battle when you play these guys," Connolly said. "They have a lot of guys who are real good agitators. I think if you can stay out of the box and just play physical with them, you have a good chance."

Connolly's two third-period goals were the difference on Black Friday, which would have been more appropriately named Black and Blue Friday.

The Flyers lost both Jared Ross and Ian Laperriere before the first period could be completed. At least it looked like the Flyers had lost Laperriere. Ross left the game after being TKO'd, face-first, on a cheap shot by Buffalo's Patrick Kaleta.

With the Flyers trailing 1-0, Laperriere took a Jason Pominville slap shot to the face with 2 minutes, 14 seconds remaining in the first period and left a pool of blood on the ice.

The tough-as-nails winger, who lost four chicklets and completely smashed open his lip, needed between 50 and 100 stitches to close the wound. But, like the Flyers, he wasn't done.

Mike Richards and Braydon Coburn scored within 30 seconds of each other just minutes after Laperriere left to close out the first period with a 2-1 Flyers' edge.

Richards nearly scored a few minutes before that on a disallowed take to the net.

"You can't fault [the referees]," Flyers coach John Stevens said. "Things happen quickly. That was his discretion on the play, but there was no penalty on the play, just saying that the goalie wasn't able to make the save because Richie [Richards] was in the net."

If Laperriere's lip weren't ugly enough, the physical play was turned up in the second period. Dan Carcillo and Craig Rivet fought twice within an 8-minute span, with Carcillo getting the best of the Sabres' captain the second time around.

Replays showed Carcillo's hair being grabbed by Rivet after the two wrestled to the ice. Carcillo and Rivet were sent to the box after a heated exchange. Carcillo drew a misconduct penalty.

That left the Flyers with just nine players on their bench and a mish-mash of lines.

"It was pretty rough," Carcillo said. "There was a lot of physicality and obviously a couple fights. It was a good, emotional game. I tried to help turn the tide."

But Paul Gaustad scored the period's only goal to reknot the game at 2-2 on a Buffalo power play.

Laperriere, equipped with a full cage and a fresh scar, rejoined his teammates on the ice for the third period.

"He's a ferocious warrior that seems to want to fight through everything to be playing the game," Stevens said.

That's when things got ugly for the Flyers.

Streaking down the wing to the right of the Flyers' goal, Connolly's laser snap shot beat Ray Emery just 5:27 into the final frame. He added a between-the-legs flip shot that acted as a backbreaker 5 minutes later to seal the deal for the struggling Sabres.

The Flyers couldn't score with multiple third-period power-play opportunities, nor over the final 3:21 with an extra attacker for Emery.

"I don't think they took over," Richards said. "I think they were opportunistic. I thought we had some chances, we just didn't capitalize like they did tonight."

Slap shots

Mike Richards played an incredible 26:22 . . . Flyers outshot Buffalo 33-25 . . . Kimmo Timonen led the Flyers with three blocked shots.

For more news and analysis, read Frank Seravalli's blog, Frequent Flyers, at