Thursday, May 20, 2010

We have a series: Canadiens jump all over Flyers

(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
You had to figure that was coming. The Canadiens, back home in Montreal with their playoff lives in the balance, came out firing on the Flyers, jumping all over them in a 5-1 win that decreased the Flyers advantage in the series to 2-1.

Playing in front of their home crowd energized the Canadiens from the start as they dominated play for most of the entire first period, showing the tenacity that got them this far in the playoffs and had been hidden in the Eastern Conference Finals. While the Flyers did eventually break out their funk and play their game, at that point things were too out of hand and they only managed one small victory when they scored on Jaroslav Halak midway through the third period.

When noticing that the Flyers gave up 5 goals, the first instinct of some fans might be to blame Michael Leighton for the loss. Given the onslaught by the Canadiens, though, Leighton did about as well as could be expected. He really should be commended for making several solid stops in the first period that kept the Flyers within striking distance as the team played back on their heels.

It looks like we have a series on our hands, folks. As much as most hoped the Canadiens would just be put away without a fight, you had to know that this team had an answer after being dominated in the first two games. Given that the Flyers goal is to win one game in Montreal, they still have a shot at making that happen in Game 4. While a 5-1 loss is never a positive thing, the Flyers can build on the fact that they showed some life and didn't let the Canadiens completely push them over in the third period.

Just like we shouldn't have gotten too high after the blowout in Game 1, there is no reason to get too low after getting crushed in Game 3. In the playoffs, a win is a win and you don't get to carry over momentum from one game to the next. With a better effort in Game 4, the Flyers can still take a stranglehold on the series. Let's just think of Game 3 as a minor speed bump and not a roadblock in the Flyers quest for the Stanley Cup.


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