All of the playoff magic built by the Canadiens in the first two rounds of the playoffs dried up at the Wachovia Centre in the first two games of the Eastern Conference final.
For the second straight night goalscoring dried up as the Canadiens were beaten 3-0 behind Michael Leighton’s second straight shutout, Not only has Canadiens goalscoring disappeared, so has the special teams play that was so important to them against Washington and Pittsburgh. The Flyers were 2-for-4 on their power play Tuesday night (4-for-10 in the series). The Canadiens power play frustrations continue. 0-for-4 on the night; 0-for-8 in the two games.
Daniel Briere, Simon Gagne and Ville Leino scored the goals for the Flyers. The Canadiens outshot Philadelphia 30-23, including 16-6 in the first period.
How It Went
Opportunity Knocks – The game was 2 minutes old when Lukas Krajicek slashed Hal Gill and went to the penalty box.
Opportunity Lost – For the second consecutive game Scott Gomez erased the first penalty of the game after 53 seconds; called for hooking Claude Giroux. (In game one Gomez wiped out a Chris Pronger penalty 2:04 into the game and on the eventual power play Braydon Coborn scored what turned out to be the game winning goal)
History Repeats – Gomez was still in the box when Krajicek returned to the ice and on their brief power play the Flyers again scored what eventually became the game winning goal.
The Opener-Daniel Briere made it 1-0 at 4:16 on the power play with a high shot on Halak’s stick side after Hal Gill failed to move out to challenge his shot. It was the Flyers first shot of the game.
Everything But A Goal– At 7:11 of the period Ville Leino was called for holding Plekanec. The Canadiens took five shots on Leighton during the manpower advantage with Plekanec, Cammalleri and Andrei Kostitsyn getting the bet chances.
Nothing to Show – The Canadiens outshot the Flyers 16-6 in the first period and trailed 1-0.
Carrying On – The Canadiens took the first four shots of the second period and at the five minute mark led on the shot clock 20-6.
Regrouping-The Flyers started to get their game in gear, took the next four shots and at 14:32 lured Brian Gionta into an offensive zone holding penalty.
The Power Play Strikes Again. This time the Canadiens defense failed to keep track of Simon Gagne, who cleared the puck in front and then jumped in front to put in a rebound at 15:49. 2-0. End of two periods 2-0. Two power play goals.
The Third Period
Shutdown Mode – There was only one shot through the first seven minutes of the third period, that one taken by Brian Gionta. Halfway through the period the Canadiens managed only two shots.
The Killer- At 10.24 of the period Ville Leino caught Halak absolutely unprepared to deal with a shot. He covered the angle improperly and was off-balance. End of game. Final Score 3-0. Philadelphia leads the series 2-0.
Summing It Up – This is what a slump looks like. Everything coming off the rails at one. All of the strengths in the first two rounds have disappeared in Philadelphia. Scoring has dried up. Goaltending is shaky. Special teams are awful. The Canadiens were better in this game than they were in the opener but they made things easy for a goaltender with a spotty NHL history at best. No presence at the net to speak of. Rebounds easily cleared. Outscored 9-0 in the opening two games is the clear statement of the start to this series.
——Michael Leighton’s shutout streak is now 165 minutes 50 seconds. 70 consecutive saves.
——The Canadiens are 0-and-5 in this year’s playoffs when they outshoot the opposition. When their opponent outshoots them, they are 8-3.
——-The Canadiens have lost 6 of 7 games when they have given up the first goal.
——-The Flyers have won six straight playoff games; four in a row to conclude their comeback in the Boston series and the first two against the Canadiens.