Coming into Sunday night's Eastern Conference Finals Game One against Montreal, the Flyers had a good idea what they had to do in order to beat the Canadiens: create havoc in front of Jaroslav Halak, who enters as the playoffs best goalie.
The Flyers accomplished exactly what they wanted to do as they crashed the net, and forced Halak to deal with bodies in front of him before chasing him for Carey Price during Philadelphia's 6-0 beating of the Canadiens.
Halak was yanked after allowing three goals in the first half of the second period, and finished giving up four goals on 14 shots as it's the third time this postseason he's been replaced mid-game by Price.
It was also important for the Flyers to set the pace in the first 10 minutes on the opening period coming off an emotional, and historic Game Seven victory over Boston on Friday night.
I think it's safe to say you knew things were going the Flyers way when Braydon Coburn, who has solidified the Orange 'n' Black's defense in this year's playoffs, scored a rebound goal at 3:55 in the first period while on a power play.
Coburn has been playing very well in the playoffs, giving Peter Laviolette two strong defensive pairings. He was a plus-two while skating 23:11, more ice time than Chris Pronger.
The second was all about the Flyers as they immediately jumped out to a 2-0 lead when James van Riemsdyk tallied his second goal of the playoffs, beating Halak on a wrister following a Claude Giroux offensive zone draw victory.
Danny Briere fired a laser from the top of a faceoff circle that beat Halak to give Philadelphia a 3-0 lead, and five minutes later Simon Gagne scored a power pay tally to send Halak to the showers.
The Flyers played such a good defensive game that Michael Leighton wasn't asked to make a game changing save, or any spectacular stops, instead all they needed was a solid performance from the team's starting goalie.
Leighton pitched his first career playoff shutout, stopping all 28 shots sent his way--including a 13 save first. Despite not needing the great saves, he had a few really good saves on deflected shots.
Scott Hartnell and Giroux added third period goals one minute apart from each other to finalize the game's scoring. Hartnell beat Price with a wrister while Giroux slipped a pretty backhander past Montreal's backup.
One thing of note that I noticed during the game, Habs rookie defenseman P.K. Subban was playing scared as he was on the ice for three goals against, and had two giveaways.
The Flyers defensive stymied everything the Canadiens were trying to do offensively, and completely shut down their best offensive player in Mike Cammalleri, who enters the series with 12 goals. Cammalleri registered only on shot a shade under 20 minutes of ice time.
For more Philadelphia sports coverage, please go to my blog: The Broad Street Scoop.
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