Menu

HOCKEY

Sabres coach Ruff calls Flyers whiners

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Call 'em the Broad Street Whiners.

At least, that's what Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff would label the Flyers after their bitter complaints about the officiating following Game 4's 1-0 loss.

Flyers captain Mike Richards, hit with a 5-minute major for elbowing Patrick Kaleta late in the second period, was the harshest critic after the loss that evened the first-round playoff series at 2-2.

Richards triggered Ruff's rebuttal when he said the Sabres are "allowed to get away with murder out there."

That was enough for Ruff.

He fired back at the Flyers on Thursday. He's tired of complaints about the officials.

"They're really doing a lot of whining. I didn't hear any whining when they had 10 power plays in Philly and I didn't hear any whining when the power plays in the first game were lopsided," Ruff said. "But all of a sudden, there's all this whining about, we're getting away with murder?"

Ruff says if the Flyers want to cry and complain about the officiating in this series, go ahead.

The accusations and trash talking should only fatten the hostility between the teams. Game 4 ended with a shoving match. As both teams left the ice, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette slammed the bench door before heading to the locker room.

Game 5 is Friday in Philadelphia.

Bring your scorecards - to keep track of scraps, not scoring.

If Sabres goalie Ryan Miller is on his game, the Flyers are in trouble. Miller has two 1-0 victories in the series, the third Sabres goalie to register two shutouts in one playoff series - and first since Dominik Hasek had two against New Jersey in 1994.

Miller stopped 35 shots in Game 1 and 32 in Game 4 in his two shutouts. He's stopped 94 percent of his shots and has played similar to how he did in last year's Olympics.

"It is nice to be there for the guys when they needed some help, knowing that they're trying to do the same for me," he said.

Buffalo fans serenaded him with calls "Ry-an Mil-ler! Ry-an Mil-ler," and he clearly deserved every last chant.

Miller made two game-changing saves in the third period that jolted the Sabres back into the series.

He stuffed Danny Briere on a point-blank shot and later used his stick to prevent Richards from slipping in a shot into the open left side following a scramble in front.

Add Miller to the list of Sabres who feel a frustrated Richards - no goals in four games - shouldn't have popped off about the refs.

"Murder, huh? He's just trying to start spinning something," Miller said. "He's a smart guy, has been around a lot of these battles and obviously knows some attention needs to be drawn to something. I think he's trying to draw it away from himself."

Richards refused to get drawn into a faceoff with the always opinionated Sabres coach. He said Ruff has earned a reputation as the kind of coach who likes to use the media to poke at teams in the playoffs. Richards wanted the focus only on winning Game 5 and taking a 3-2 series lead back to Buffalo.

"I like our discipline. We've done a good job of walking away from the scrums," Richards said. "They're a team that's working really hard to get under our skin and, luckily, we're not letting them."

What the Sabres have done is shut down Philadelphia's offense. Of the seven Flyers who scored at least 20 goals in the regular season, Briere is the only one in four games with two goals. Richards has only one point.

The Flyers could be down one of their potent scorers in Game 5 if Jeff Carter can't play. Carter did not return after hurting his right knee following a collision in front of the Buffalo net with 2:20 left in the first period.

Carter led the Flyers with 36 goals and had 66 points this season. He had four points in the playoffs.

While he may sit out, the Flyers could get a boost if defenseman Chris Pronger returns Friday. The former NHL MVP has been sidelined since having hand surgery in March. He also missed time with a foot injury and was limited to just 50 games this season. Pronger, who remains day to day, said before the series started he was very confident he'd play vs. the Sabres. He again hit the ice for some light skating on Thursday.

The Flyers insist they'll be ready.

"It's going to be our fans and our rink, and we're going to come out hard tomorrow," defenseman Kimmo Timonen said. "Trust me."