BUFFALO, New York (Ticker) -- Roman Cechmanek's dream season came to a nightmarish end.
Cechmanek was chased after surrendering five goals in the first 24 minutes as the Buffalo Sabres eliminated the Philadelphia Flyers from the Eastern Conference quarterfinals with a 8-0 rout in Game Six.
Only his age prevents the 30-year-old Cechmanek from winning the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie. But after limiting the Sabres to two goals in a sweep of the four-game regular-season series, he was overwhelmed on Saturday as Philadelphia suffered the worst playoff loss in team history.
"If we didn't have Roman, then we wouldn't be sitting here," said Flyers coach Bill Barber. "I have the deepest respect for him and it's unfortunate that it had to end like this. But things happen for a reason."
J.P. Dumont scored his first two playoff goals and Chris Gratton completed a strong series against his former team by scoring twice for Buffalo. The Sabres also got key contributions from a pair of 37-year-olds as Dave Andreychuk had a power-play goal and two assists and Doug Gilmour chipped in a power-play goal and an assist.
"I didn't want to go back to Philly. I wanted to play my last game there on Thursday," Gilmour said. "We wanted to prepare this as our seventh game. In my mind, no way was I going back there. We wanted to win here, get a little break, get ready for the next step."
Dominik Hasek again outplayed his former understudy on the Czech Olympic team and stopped 24 shots for his sixth career postseason shutout. He helped the Sabres avenge last year's loss in the conference quarterfinals and eliminate the Flyers in the first round for the second time in four years.
"We worked hard the first two games in Philly to gain the home-ice advantage," Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said. "What more could you ask then to come back and play one game in your building in front of your fans to win a series?" The Sabres will have a few days off before the second round. They will face the winner of the Pittsburgh-Washington series, assuming New Jersey can finish off Carolina.
Chris Gratton opened the scoring 2:23 into the first period. Andreychuk took a weak shot from the top of the right faceoff circle and Gratton barely got his stick on it, just tipping the puck past Cechmanek's glove side.
"It was a great play by Andreychuk. He just rifted it on net," Gratton said. "Coach Ruff stressed all series just get some pucks on the net. I was fortunate to get my stick free and tip it by him."
Gratton had five goals and three assists in this series after collecting just two goals and three assists in his first 16 postseason games.
Gilmour shoveled a short backhander past Cechmanek on the power play at 13:20 and the rout was on after Donald Audette and Andreychuk scored 57 seconds apart late in the opening period.
"All series, he went down early," Audette said of Cechmanek. "I just had my head down, I knew where the net was. I just tried to go upstairs."
"The start we got off to makes it awfully tough to come back in another team's building," Gratton said. "It was an incredible start and I think the guys were really revved up and it kind of put the nerves aside."
When Dumont beat him on a breakaway 3:25 into the second period for a 5-0 lead, Cechmanek's season was over.
Brian Boucher, the hero of Philadelphia's run to last year's conference finals, came on and surrendered a power-play goal to Steve Heinze at 6:38.
Dumont and Gratton added third-period goals to complete the greatest postseason rout in Sabres' history.
"It sure wasn't the way we wanted to continue on or finish off the series," Barber said. "We had a couple of wins and then it felt like our wheels fell off our wagon. It's been a demanding year on us and I'm not going to sit here and hang my head."
The Flyers kept the series alive on Thursday with a 3-1 home win. But nothing worked on Saturday afternoon.
"We felt good about ourselves going into this game, especially after the game we had the other night. It just makes me more disappointed because we know the way we can play and the way we did play tonight," said left wing John LeClair, who becomes an unrestricted free agent July 1 and may have played his last game for Philadelphia.
"I think it's a little more embarrassing than anything."
The Flyers overcame adversity all season, including back injuries that limited LeClair to 16 games and an inability to trade holdout center Eric Lindros.
"I don't think it had any impact at all on our team. In fact, I think it was positive getting that problem out of our locker room," Philadelphia general manager Bob Clarke said of Lindros. "We were forced to use different people in key situations and they responded. So I think there was a lot of positives to be taken from Lindros not having (been) on our team."
The Sabres also were without a key player as former captain Michael Peca remains unsigned. But they are heading to the conference semifinals for the fourth time in five years.