Delmore tipped Daymond Langkow's pass over Dominik Hasek's right arm with 8:54 left in the third period to give the Flyers a 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres and new life in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.
A defenseman who was a healthy scratch in the final two games of the regular season and the first two games of this series, Delmore drifted in front of the net. Langkow intercepted defenseman Rhett Warrener's clearing attempt at the top of the slot and flipped the puck down low to Delmore, who scored his seventh career playoff goal.
"It was kind of a scrambly play coming across the blue line, went off a couple of feet," Delmore explained. "Langkow picked it up, saw me and made a heckuva pass over somebody's stick. I was lucky enough to get some wood on it."
Last year, Delmore scored twice in Game Three of the conference semifinals in Pittsburgh, including the overtime winner, as Philadelphia got within two games to one. Once again, the Flyers recorded a road win after dropping the first two games of the series at home.
"If I hesitate, there's really no point in jumping in," Delmore said. "I don't want to take chances. You've just got to make the simple, easy play.
"It was really sweet, not playing the first two games, to be able to help the team out and get a victory. What more can you ask for?" Philadelphia, which also was buoyed by the return of leading scorer Keith Primeau, can square the series Tuesday night in Buffalo.
"I'd like to be in better condition, be quicker, but I got through it. Now we'll see how the knee responds," said Primeau, who missed the final six games of the regular season and the first two games of this series with a sprained left MCL. "We bought ourselves another day. We recognize that."
Chris Gratton scored a power-play goal and set up another against his former team for Buffalo. But he was stopped on a breakaway by Roman Cechmanek with 4:25 left in the second period and a chance to break a 2-2 tie.
"We had some good chances, too, myself included. I had a breakaway and he made a big save on it," Gratton said. "We made some errors in our zone we haven't made the last couple of games. If you are going to make errors like that against a team like Philly, they are going to put it in the net."
Gratton started the scoring 3:53 into the first period, 40 seconds after Flyers defenseman Luke Richardson was penalized for holding. Doug Gilmour's slap shot from the blue line was stopped, but Gratton flicked the rebound under Cechmanek off a scramble for his second goal of the series.
"We want to come out and get off to a good start in every game," Gratton said. "We knew they were going to come out hard. To get a goal early is a big boost. We've got to carry that throughout the game."
Kent Manderville tied it off a turnover 2:37 into the second period, ending a 44-game postseason scoring drought. Buffalo's Donald Audette tried to clear the puck off the left boards but gave it right to Manderville, who beat Hasek from the left faceoff circle for his first playoff goal since April 18, 1994.
"We want to close off the middle. (Audette) made a pass through the middle. I was lucky enough to pick it off and get a quick shot on Hasek," Manderville said. "Certainly, a relief for me personally and nice to get one for the team."
"We made two big mistakes, two turnovers," said Sabres coach Lindy Ruff. "We turned it over and they scored, that's the difference. They found the hole and we did not."
Philadelphia's Dean McAmmond went to the penalty box for roughing at 3:07 and the Sabres needed just 65 seconds to regain the lead. Gratton passed from the top of the right circle down to Miroslav Satan. He flubbed a shot, but the puck bounced to Steve Heinze, who whipped it into a half-empty net to end a 12-game drought.
The Flyers were on the power play with 8:37 left in the second when Primeau put a one-time slap shot off the left goalpost. Simon Gagne swept in the rebound from the top of the crease for his first goal since February 22.
After allowing a shaky goal in overtime to Jay McKee in Game Two, Cechmanek stopped 26 shots for his first career playoff win.
"(Cechmanek) played a little bit better. Everyone on that side played better," Audette said. "They played desperate hockey. When you are against the wall like that, you gotta play desperate. You have to expect that. We've got to match them."
Hasek turned aside 16 shots.