Monday, April 28, 2008

Biron leads Flyers to 2-1 series advantage

(AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)
It's the oldest hockey adage there is: hot goaltending wins in the playoffs. The Flyers got another amazing game from goaltender Martin Biron to help them to a 3-2 win over the Canadiens in Game 3 of their playoff series. The win gives the Flyers a 2-1 edge in the series.

Biron was on all night, and he needed to be to bail the Flyers out. The Canadiens out-shot the Flyers 34-14 which meant Biron was kept busy all night. The Flyers goalie had to make numerous saves when the defense broke down, including his best stop on a breakaway by Saku Koivu in the first period. Biron nearly pulled out a shutout but the Canadiens managed to capitalize on a long power play in the third period. Biron is the hottest of any goalie in the playoffs right now, a good sign for the Flyers as they look to continue their run.

Carey Price, the Canadiens goalie, is the worst goaltender of any team in the playoffs right now. Price let in three goals on nine shots and never looked comfortable in the crease. Any time the puck was shot at him, he seemed to misplay it and allow the Flyers second and third chances. Price was later pulled in favor of Canadiens back-up Jaroslav Halak, something that could further lower Price's confidence level. As commenter Joe said in my Game Three Live Blog, "The price is wrong, bitch!". Those of you that have seen Happy Gilmore have to appreciate that one.

The Flyers built a 3-0 lead in tonight's game thanks to goals by Scottie Upshall, Mike Richards and R.J. Umberger in a second period they completely dominated. Upshall's goal was set up nicely by Joffrey Lupul, Richards' goal was shorthanded and Umberger managed to get one past Price that the goaltender should have been able to stop.

Philly looked to be on their way to an easy win when Derian Hatcher was given a 5 minute major and a game misconduct for boarding Francis Bouillon five minutes into the third period. The play was definitely a penalty, but the refs were a little extreme in tossing Hatcher from the game. The Canadiens scored twice on the ensuing power play and the game tightened up once again. Each team got one more power play opportunity, but the Flyers were content to sit back and let their goaltender do all the work. Thanks to Biron repeatedly making the big stops, the Flyers just managed to hold on to the win.

The Flyers take a big 2-1 series win with Game Four coming up on Wednesday in Philly. The Flyers will continue to soar if Biron can keep up his high level up play. A hot goaltender can carry a team far, and if the Flyers continue to get timely scoring and take advantage of their opponent's mistakes, there is no reason they won't be able to get past the Canadiens. It will be interesting to see how Carey Price handles himself in the next game. He could come back full of confidence or he could continue to play like the inexperienced 20 year old he is. With the way Biron is playing, if Price can't step his game up, this series is as good as over.

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

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