The Buffalo Sabres have been vanquished.
It didn't take much. Solid goaltending. Smart defensive play. Shot blocking. And the Peter Laviolette specialty: An aggressive forecheck that overwhelmed the Sabres, just like we knew it would.
The games Ryan Miller dominated, the Sabres won. But Miller's not Superman; even he couldn't withstand a 16-2 shot differential in the first period. And when he cracked, so did Buffalo.
Claude Giroux had his best game of the series; Chris Pronger strongly resembled the Pronger of old. Danny Briere and James van Riemsdyk continued their playoff domination.
Brian Boucher will remain the team's biggest question mark, but now that Michael Leighton has been shot out of a cannon into the sun, the goaltending situation is a little calmer. And frankly, if the Flyers continue to play like they did last night, it doesn't matter who's in goal.
Tampa Bay could be a serious threat, and there's obviously a lot of history between the Flyers and Boston. I'd prefer to see the Crosby-and-Malkin-less Penguins, but at this point I'm just basking in the glory of a Game 7 win. And when you get right down to it, no one in the Eastern Conference is as experienced and as talented as Philadelphia.
A few weeks ago, I questioned whether the Flyers could re-become the team we loved all through the winter. Could they really flip a switch and recapture the magic? Well, consider the switch flipped.