The Canadiens finally hit the wall against Philadelphia. They scored the first goal of the game but it was one breakaway and odd-man rush after another through the rest of the first period and then the Flyers took advantage of a mistake prone Canadiens defence to eventually wear the Canadiens down for a 4-2 win and a 4-1 series win. The Flyers will play for the Stanley Cup starting Sunday in Chicago. .
How It Went
The First Period
First Minute – Roman Hamrlik smelled out a clearing pass by Chris Pronger at centre ice and sent the puck back to Gomez who fed Brian Gionta who had room to put it through Michael Leighton’s five-hole. There have been 8 goals scored in the opening minute of games during this Stanley Cup year. Gionta has three of them.
Shift of the Game– On a Canadiens power play Mike Richards leveled Marc-Andre Bergeron and chased the puck through centre ice creating a 3-on-2. Halak made the save on Braydon Coborn.
Still on the Ice -Ten seconds later Giroux sent the puck ahead for Richards. Halak came out of his net to clear it and tangled with Roman Hamrlik. While the two were lying on the ice, Richards got up and scored into the empty net. Shorthanded goal. 1-1.
End of the First – 1-1 tie. Canadiens outshot the Flyers 9-6. Flyers had four odd man rushes in the period.
Having a Bad Night – Andrei Kostitsyn’s clearing pass was stopped at the Canadiens line by Matt Carle. Gill, moving up with the play, was caught up ic as Carle gave it to Arron Asham in front. With all the time in the world Asham went from backhand to forehand to make it 2-1 at 3:07.
On His Next Shift – Mike Richards took a shot and then headed behind the net. Timonen passed it behind the net for Richards who quickly put in front for Jeff Carter with Gill standing still on the play. 3-1. Two goals in 1:24.
Comeback Throttler – The Canadiens picked up three of the next four penalties. Too many men on the ice and then at 15:02 went off for slashing and Brian Gionta 1:12 later for high sticking. Through that sequence the Flyers managed two shots. The Canadiens killed the penalties.
Picking It Up– Through the final two minutes of the period, perhaps encouraged by their penalty killers, the Canadiens controlled play but couldn’t score. 3-1 Flyers after two periods
The Third Period
Facing Elimination-The Flyers went into the third period knowing that they had won their last 18 straight playoff games win which they had a 2 goal or more lead going to the third.
Keeping Them In – The odd-men breaks kept on coming and Halak kept the game close. Giroux sent Arron Asham away on a 3 on 1 at 5:13. Halak made the save. A minute later Scott Hartnell stole the puck and was in on Halak alone. Another save.
Back In The Game- P.K. Subban, gambling, carried the puck in deep, as he was checked behind the net he tipped the puck back out to Scott Gomez who scored high on Leighton to make it a 3-2 hockey game.
Pressing The Issue – The Canadiens continued to press through to a four minute minor penalty issued to Chris Pronger for highsticking Subban at 9:12.
No Gas- The power play lasted 2 ½ minutes before the officials evened it up with a tripping call on Metropolit. The Canadiens got two shots and on their dump-ins failed to regain possession in the corners allowing the Flyers to ice the puck.
Two Man Show-The only effective Canadiens forwards were Gomez and Gionta. The last good chance for the Canadiens came with under eight minutes left when Gomez flicked the puck in front for Gionta.
The Extra Attacker – Jaroslav Halak came out with 59 seconds remaining. The Canadiens didn’t get a shot and chasing the puck down in the Canadiens end, Plekanec failed to control against the checking of Richards who fell but still got the puck out to Pronger for the empty net goal. Final score 4-2. Flyers win the series 4 games to one.
Summing It Up – In the end, size really did seem to make a difference. The Canadiens were shutout three times in the series, once at home. They failed to muster enough to compete hard in two of the games. On Philadelphia ice they scored only two goals in nine periods. Plekanec, Andrei Kostitsyn, and Pouliot, players depended upon for offence, failed to compete in the series. Easy to point fingers, but in the end the Canadiens simply looked weary. And in the deciding game, mistake prone. Give them credit for an exciting Stanley Cup run, the best in 17 years in Montreal.