Flyers Suffer Game Three 'Ass-Kicking' from Habs, Still Lead Series 2-1

Jim McNultyCorrespondent IMay 21, 2010

MONTREAL, QC - MAY 20:  Danny Briere #48 of the Philadelphia Flyers fights againist Roman Hamrlik #44 and Jaroslav Spacek #6 of the Montreal Canadiens in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bell Centre on May 20, 2010 in Montreal, Canada.  (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images)
Dave Sandford/Getty Images

Well that was ugly.

The Flyers' captain Mike Richards called it "an old-fashioned ass-kicking."

The Canadiens finally solved Flyers' goalie Michael Leighton on their way to a 5-1 victory of Game Three of the Eastern Conference Finals.  However, Leighton was hardly the reason the Flyers got taken to the woodshed.

The first five minutes illustrated what kind of night Philadelphia was in for.

They were out-skated.

Out-hustled.

Out-hit.

They lost every battle in the corner.

They looked tentative with the puck.

They took bad penalties.

"Other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?"

Basically, it was the complete role reversal from game one of the series, where the Flyers dominated Montreal from the opening face-off. 

Montreal was buzzing, and nothing the Flyers did could stem the tide.

And come to think of it, they didn't seem very interested in trying.

My brother quipped on Facebook that their game got held up in Customs crossing the border.

The only saving grace is that leading up to this game the Flyers had won six straight games and played seven straight periods of shutout hockey, and still lead this series two games to one.

What it cannot do is allow doubt to creep in.

Not with the team.  Not with the fans.

Doubt is what the Flyers created in the minds of the Bruins and their fans, allowing them to climb all the way back from a 3-0 series abyss.

It culminated in that historic Game Seven, trailing 3-0 as the Flyers began chipping away at their deficit–taking the air out of the TD Garden.

"Oh, no... Here we go again," a familiar refrain amongst the Bruin faithful.

But doubt is also what Montreal created in Pittsburgh and Washington, too.  With Jarsolav Halak channeling Ken Dryden, the Canadiens completed their own improbable comebacks.

So don't think for a minute that the Habs have any doubt that they are still in this series.

Not before their Game Three thrashing of Philly.

And certainly not after.

Because we all know that Jedi Mind Tricks only work on the weak-minded.

And "weak" doesn't appear to be in Montreal's make-up.