In a surprising development, defenseman Chris Pronger logged a lot more ice time in Game 7 Tuesday night than in Sunday's Game 6, and the veteran defenseman helped the Flyers oust the Buffalo Sabres, 5-2, at the Wells Fargo Center.

Pronger played 17 minutes, 27 seconds - about 13 minutes more than in Game 6 - and he had an assist and quarterbacked the power play, which improved significantly since he returned Sunday from a surgically repaired right hand.

The Flyers converted their first two power-play chances Tuesday, and Pronger was on the ice for both of them. The Flyers finished 2 for 4 on the power play.

They were 3 for 10 (30 percent) on the power play after Pronger returned in Game 6. Before that, they were 2 for 26 (7.7 percent) in the series.

Pronger, who had an assist on the Flyers' third goal Tuesday, played just on the power play in Game 6. That was his first appearance since March 8.

He played in even-strength situations and the power play on Tuesday.

Teammate Danny Briere said Pronger "helps us settle down" on the power-play unit.

Without Pronger, "we were forcing too many plays, instead of controlling the puck . . . and you start pressing, and you start taking bad shots," Briere said. "After Game 5, we talked about just controlling the play a little bit more. Chris obviously does that so well. He's good at holding onto the puck and making the right decision. He definitely helped us settle down for Games 6 and 7."

Sabres missing forwards

Buffalo was missing three keys forwards for Game 7 Tuesday night because of injury: Jason Pominville, Tim Connolly, and Patrick Kaleta.

Kaleta scored in Buffalo's 1-0 win in Game 1, and he reportedly harassed Danny Briere and Scott Hartnell in Game 6, making comments about their recent divorces. He apparently suffered a hand injury in Game 6.

Pominville was out with a leg injury, and Connolly suffered a head injury in Game 6 after being boarded by the Flyers' Mike Richards.

 Jeff Carter (knee) again was among the Flyers' scratches.

Laperriere nominated

Even though he didn't play a game this season because of post-concussion syndrome, Flyers forward Ian Laperriere was named one of the three finalists for the Masterton Award on Tuesday.

Laperriere, who all but announced his career was over, is well respected in hockey circles.

The award, voted upon by the Professional Hockey Writers Association, is given to the player who demonstrates perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.

 The other two nominees are former Flyers: Anaheim goalie Ray Emery, who is favored to win it, and Calgary forward Daymond Langkow.

 Laperriere seemed to almost rule out a comeback.

"I have to be honest. . . . I tried to stay in shape as much as I can in case my eye cleared up, but the blur in my eye is still there, and when I'm on the ice it's worse," he said.

The Masterton winner will be announced in Las Vegas on June 22.