Rookie goalie Miller shuts out Flyers, gives Sabres edge

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- Rookie goaltender Ryan Miller shook off his
doubters, and the Buffalo Sabres regained the edge in their
first-round playoff series against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Miller stopped 24 shots to record his first playoff shutout, and
Tim Connolly and J.P. Dumont scored power-play goals and had an
assist each in Buffalo's 3-0 win on Sunday. Maxim Afinogenov also
scored, helping the Sabres bounce back from two road losses and
take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference series.

Game 6 is Tuesday at Philadelphia in a series in which the home
team has won every game.

The Flyers looked nothing like the confident group that rallied
from a 2-0 series deficit.

Peter Forsberg, who had four goals and four assists in four
games, was held without a point for the first time. He and
linemates Simon Gagne and Mike Knuble were blanked on a combined
seven shots on net.

Miller responded after being faulted for giving up cheap goals
in Buffalo's losses. He particularly looked bad in allowing R.J.
Umberger to sneak in a shot from the right circle for the go-ahead,
third-period goal of Philadelphia's 5-4 win in Game 4 on Friday.

While the Sabres' defense prevented many second chances on
Sunday, Miller still had to be sharp, especially in the second
period when Buffalo was outshot 14-6.

His best save came with 1:10 left in the frame when Petr
Nedved's shot from in close glanced off Buffalo defenseman Teppo
Numminen's skate. Miller followed the puck and got the shaft of his
stick out to make the stop.

The Sabres responded 20 seconds later, going up 2-0 on Dumont's
power-play goal.

Dumont scored after Flyers defenseman Eric Desjardins' clearing
attempt banked off teammate Branko Radivojevic inside the
Philadelphia zone. Connolly got to the puck and fed Daniel Briere
to set up a 2-on-1 down low. Briere maneuvered around sliding
defenseman Denis Gauthier and fed a pass through the crease to
Dumont, who one-timed a shot in from the right circle.

Connolly opened the scoring 6 minutes in, capping a breathtaking
effort. Carrying the puck up the middle from his own blue line,
Connolly drove all the way to the Flyers net against a defense that
inexplicably kept backing up.

Connolly avoided Sami Kapanen's poke check and snapped a shot
from the slot, beating Robert Esche on the glove side.

The Sabres have opened the scoring in all five games of the
series but had trouble maintaining the lead in the last two games,
including squandering a 2-0 advantage Friday.

Afinogenov sealed the win scoring 5 minutes into the third

Miller became the third Sabres rookie to record a playoff
shutout and first since Steve Shields in a 3-0 win over Ottawa on
April 27, 1997.

Sabres rookie Paul Gaustad delivered the hit of the game,
sending Nedved tumbling with a clean hip check at the Flyers blue
line with 6 minutes left.

Game notes
Sabres LW Jochen Hecht (upper body injury) didn't play
after being hurt in the second period of Game 4. Taylor Pyatt
replaced him in the lineup, making his NHL playoff debut. ...
Numminen returned after a racing heart condition that developed in
Game 3 and prevented him from playing in Game 4. ... Connolly was
forced to wear a visor after he was cut on the face during the
warmup. ... The Forsberg-Gagne-Knuble line has combined for eight
goals and eight assists in the series. The rest of the Flyers have
five goals and 10 assists.