The Wells Fargo Center was deathly quiet. It was as if the energy had seeped through cracks in the walls and dissipated in the South Philly air.

There was a good reason for this. Two good reasons, in fact, and both were early Buffalo goals from near impossible angles that got through the leg pads of Flyers goalie Brian Boucher. With barely enough time to clear their throats, the orange-draped crowd sat stunned, and you could almost see the Flyers' shoulders sag.

This wasn't the way the Flyers had promised to start Game 5 of what has evolved into a fascinating first-round Stanley Cup playoff series, especially the day after Sabres coach Lindy Ruff had called them whiners. But nothing drains the confidence from a team as efficiently as poor goaltending.

So the Flyers were feeling their way through the dark when James van Riemsdyk switched on the lights and began a comeback from a 3-0 deficit with a goal midway through the second period.

"I thought JVR had a strong performance for us tonight," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. "I thought he was strong and is really using his speed, size, and the puck seems to be sticking with him. He is getting lots of offensive opportunities."

This series has been a coming out party for the second-year winger, one long answer for those who were beginning to wonder when he'd blend the size and speed the Flyers found so beguiling they made him the second overall pick in the draft. Sure, he'll be only 22 in a couple of weeks, and this is only his second full season, but patience runs thin in the NHL.