The Philadelphia Flyers have kept fans on the edges of their seats by blowing several leads in the playoffs. Monday's game almost followed suit.
Philadelphia's ability to squander leads during the last portion of the regular season and the playoffs nearly cost the Flyers a chance at the playoffs and their first round series against the Washington Capitals. And it did indeed cost them Game One of their second round series against the Montreal Canadiens.
The Flyers scored the first goal, then got another short handed. R.J. Umberger scored a third before the teams headed to their respective locker rooms for the second intermission.
The Flyers had practically buried Montreal before they could blink.
A scoreless first period was filled with hard hits and countless wasted chances by the Habs to take an early lead and take the boisterous Flyers crowd out of the game.
Montreal's inability to score put the pressure on Habs goalie Carey Price to stand on his head and keep Montreal in the game.
The key moment in this game was after the first Flyer goal. How was Price going to respond?
He didn't respond well. Price gave up a soft goal and then a rebound on another shot that led to the third Flyers goal.
At that point, the game was far from over. Derian Hatcher took a dumb penalty, giving Montreal a five-minute power play. Hatcher's penalty was a five-minute boarding major in retaliation for a hit on R.J. Umberger.
The Canadiens scored twice on the major penalty, making it a one-goal game with 10 minutes left to play.
The first three quarters of the final period belonged to the Canadiens. The Habs controlled the play, recording 16 of the first 18 shots on goal in the period.
The Flyers made it easy on the new Habs goalie Jaroslav Halak who replaced Price in the third period.
The first two periods were pretty clean, a few penalties and only a little extra curricular action after the whistle.
The third period—much different. After almost every whistle there was some kind of extra pushing and shoving. The Canadiens tried to push the Flyers around as long as the refs would tolerate it, and it worked.
Another penalty against the Flyers with six minutes left put the pressure on the Flyers' penalty kill once again. A Canadien goal could have been an absolute series changer, but Philly was able to kill off the Lasse Kukkonen interference penalty.
Instead, the Flyers killed it off and killed off the rest of the Canadiens' charge.
The Flyers survived probably the most one-sided period of the series and took a 2-1 series lead.
•Who didn't enjoy the graphic for too many men on the ice at the end of the game when the technical crew froze the shot at the wrong time so that there would only be five Habs on the ice. Smooth Versus. Real Smooth.
•Mike Richards took a shot at Habs goalie Jaroslav Halak during the Kukkonen penalty. That was about the worst time to hit Halak in the head. The last thing the Flyers need is to have to kill off another penalty with under four minutes left.
•The Flyers won another game with no contributions from the Briere line. This is like the Capitals' series, except it's the other way around. Ovechkin wasn't scoring in that series.
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