After only two games into the Eastern Conference Finals, the Cinderella run by the Montreal Canadiens is as good as over. After dropping the first two games of the series to the Flyers, the pressure is mounting on the Canadiens who were able to upset the NHL’s top team, the Capitals, and the defending Stanley Cup Champions, the Pittsburgh Penguins, earlier in these playoffs.
With the way this team has performed in Philadelphia these past two games, don’t expect the Canadiens to pull off a run like they did against the Capitals after going down 3-1 and eventually pulling off three straight wins to take the first round series. During both games against the Flyers, the Canadiens have come out flat and have been unable to recover. The goal scored by Ville Leino in the third period of Game Two is a perfect example. Halak made a lethargic attempt at blocking Leinos shot, coming from a terrible shooting angle, which then boomeranged off Halak's glove into the net to give Philadelphia a 3-0 lead.
This Montreal team surprised Washington and Pittsburgh and both defeated teams overlooked their strength and talent, with Mike Cammallari capturing a playoff leading 12 goals and Jaroslav Halak boasting a .933 save percentage through the first two rounds.
The Flyers aren’t impressed.
Outscoring the Canadiens 9-0 through two games while giving the home crowd a lot to cheer about, the Flyers seem to be doing more of the surprising. One of the biggest surprises, Michael Leighton, who has filled in beautifully for Brian Boucher in net after Boucher went down in the second period of Game Five against Boston. Leighton has won all four of his starts in these Stanley Cup Playoffs, and has accounted for two shutouts, which ties the playoff lead with Chicago’s Antti Niemi.
So with the Flyers on an absolute tear through the latter half of these playoffs, and their home crowd defining the term “home ice advantage,” they are only two wins away from advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1997 when they were swept in four games by the Detroit Red Wings.
With the series shifting to Montreal for the next two games, the Canadiens will have to do a complete turnaround to find their way back into this series. But with Montreal’s top offensive guns unable to produce so far, its looking as if the glass slipper doesn’t fit quite right for the eighth-seeded Montreal Canadiens.