Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Biron does it again, gives Flyers 3-1 series lead

(AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)
The Flyers decided to make it interesting in the end, blowing another 2 goal lead, but they still managed to pull out a 4-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens to give them a 3-1 series lead. Martin Biron was once again the hero for the Flyers, making numerous brilliant saves to keep the Flyers in the game. The Flyers will continue to win in the playoffs if Biron, who finished with 36 saves, can play like this every night.

The Canadiens goaltending is a totally different story. Carey Price, the Habs goalie for every game in the playoffs so far, was benched prior to tonight's game following his awful performance in Game 4. Jaroslav Halak was called upon to make his first career playoff start for the Canadiens, and while he looked good for a long stretch in the beginning of the game, he would eventually let in two goals that he should have been able to stop. The problem the Canadiens have now is they can't go back to Price even if they wanted to because the young goaltender's confidence has to be shot after getting benched. They will be forced to go with Halak for the rest of the series regardless of how well he plays.

The first period of tonight's game was very even, with both teams looking crisp and playing with a ton of energy. Biron made a few big stops early that proved he was on point again, and Halak stopped a breakaway chance by Jeff Carter to get himself focused. The Canadiens had two powerplays in the first, but the Flyers killed them off without any trouble.

R.J. Umberger, who has been red hot in this series, scored the first goal of the game on the powerplay in the second period. Umberger flipped a shot on net that Halak should have stopped, yet it went past him to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead. The Flyers played great defense for the rest of the period and Biron continued to stop everything coming his way.

Scott Hartnell scored the second goal of the game for the Flyers when he tapped the puck into the back of the net after a Vaclav Prospal shot rebounded off Halak and onto his stick. The goal gave the Flyers a comfortable two goal lead, something they have had huge problems with maintaining. Several times this postseason, the Flyers have blown two goal leads and tonight was no exception. Later in the third, the Canadiens scored two goals within 37 seconds and tied the game right back up. The first goal they scored was a deflected shot that Biron had no chance on, the second was a nice goal scored by Saku Koivu.

With the game tied at 2 and under 4 minutes left to play, the Flyers got a break from the refs. The refs called an interference penalty on Steve Begin of the Canadiens that would put the Flyers on the powerplay. The play was questionable at best, and I am sure Montreal fans will say that they were screwed, but I don't have much sympathy for them considering how Game One in this series went. Danny Briere took advantage of the power play chance and scored the game winning goal. R.J. Umberger later added an empty net goal to give the Flyers the 4-2 win.

The Flyers now take a 3-1 series lead for the second time this postseason. Hopefully the Flyers have learned from their series with the Capitals that they need to put the Canadiens away now that they have the chance. The next game will be in Montreal, where the fans are crazed and the Canadiens can feed off their energy, so the Flyers will have to weather a storm at the beginning of Game Five. If Biron and the Flyers can get past the initial storm unscathed, they will be rolling to the Eastern Conference Finals to likely face the Penguins.

Let's all sit back and enjoy how far this Flyers team has come. They are the 6th seed in the Eastern Conference and they have completely dominated the best team in the East. The Flyers have looked like the better team on the ice in nearly every game and if it wasn't for some questionable calls in Game One, the series would already be over. They have the best goaltender in the playoffs right now, and they have the most complete team of anyone in hockey. Enjoy it Flyers fans, this amazing playoff ride doesn't appear to be ending any time soon.

Highlights of Martin Biron's amazing game via Comcast SportsNet:

1 comment:

EnriqueFed said...

Think the Habs wouldn't mind having Huet right about now?