Believe it or not, Tyler Myers has always been mean. Behind that aw-shucks grin, humble attitude and nice-guy demeanor is a 6-foot-8 mountain of fury. It just takes a lot of agitation for the Buffalo defenseman to show it.

The Philadelphia Flyers have finally dragged it out of him.

The first-round playoff series between the Sabres and Flyers has been equal parts skill and scrapping. It's also been equal parts Sabres and Flyers, with the teams set to break their 2-2 tie tonight in Game Five in Wells Fargo Center. Myers' skill was well-known. His scrap essentially was a secret, until Wednesday.

The 21-year-old shed his smooth skating for rough shoving. Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller laid down the ground rules for protecting the Buffalo net -- "You pull out all the stops: tackle, slash, hack, whack" -- and Myers followed them implicitly.

"I can get mean when I want to," Myers said with a chuckle Thursday. "It takes quite a bit to get me going, but with it being playoffs now, I think it's something we can use. If the opportunity comes up, I'll try and be as physical without taking penalties and be as gritty as I can."

Myers was around the crease nearly as much as Miller during the Sabres' 1-0 victory Wednesday. He was obstructing shot lanes, blocking pucks, decking Flyers and refusing to let anything into the Buffalo net.

When Philly captain Mike Richards complained the Sabres got away with murder, he was talking about Myers. The big guy clocked Richards in the head and used his bare hands to drag him along the ice out of a pile, with the final minute looking like it'd see Myers' first NHL fight.

"I don't think I should've been dropping the gloves with 30 seconds left," Myers said, "but I kind of realized it and backed off a bit."

The Sabres don't want him to back off. Myers will always be big. It's time he becomes big and mean.

"He's a really strong guy, obviously very big, and he can be pretty scary when he gets mean," Sabres forward Tyler Ennis said. "He can be a tough defender in that situation. You saw [Wednesday] night, I mean he was throwing guys around pretty good."

The playoffs are about battling for every inch, especially during this series. Miller envisions Myers using his 80 inches of height the same way Boston's Zdeno Chara uses his 81.