James van Riemsdyk's dominating play has been a surprising development in the first three games of the Flyers' Eastern Conference quarterfinals against Buffalo.

The second-year winger has a goal, a plus-3 rating, and a team-high 14 shots for the Flyers, who have a two-games-to-one lead heading into Game 4 Wednesday night in Buffalo.

Van Riemsdyk, 21, whose physicality has intensified, credits last year's playoff run for preparing him for this spring's tournament.

"I think the experience gives you confidence in knowing how you have to play to have success," he said after Tuesday's practice at HSBC Arena. "I think going through that experience, the ups and downs, helps you with the confidence level this year."

Van Riemsdyk has been on a line with Claude Giroux and Jeff Carter.

"There's some good chemistry out there, and we seem to be getting some good chances," he said.

The Sabres view Wednesday as a "must" win.

"They're going to come out with that extra desperation, knowing it's two to one, and we're going to have to be ready to match that," van Riemsdyk said.

"It's probably the biggest game of the series right now," goalie Brian Boucher said. "They've got a good team over there. They've got good speed, they've got strong goaltending, and we don't expect it to be easy by any stretch."