Wow! What an intense last two games in this best of seven series against the Flyers and Canadiens. The intensity has risen, and you can tell, crunching hits on both ends, but even though Montreal has been out hitting the Flyers, I give Philly the advantage when it comes to the crunching, in your face hits. See photo to the right (AP Photo, All rights reserved).
I love seeing the sea of orange! Great shirts too, I want one. The Flyers fans where loud and proud during Game 4, mock cheering Price, and cheering every time the Flyers, more often than not, Jason Smith, hit someone in white.
The Flyers got goals from Upshall, Richards, and Umberger. It was a scary moment later in the third when Umberger hurt his knee, but he was back on the ice five minutes later, way to be a trooper Umberger!
Martin Biron was simply awesome these last two games also, stopping a penalty shot, and a handful of breakaways. I’ve always challenged Marty’s skills, but now I know why we have him, and glad we do! He’s a mad man on the ice, I tell ya. He seems so confident in his play right now, if it wasn’t for him, who knows what cooulda happened these last couple games.
The penalty kill was awesome too. They greatly improved from games 1 + 2, and I give them credit for knocking almost 2 1/2 minutes off that 5 minute major in the third. They got too tired there towards the end and the Habs came back and cut the lead to one goal. The first goal of the Habs was a pain. Biron thought he had it, he lost it, it was sitting on the post, and Kukkonen almost gets it out but a Habs player ended up poking it in. Then the second goal, Biron stopped it but it rebounded off his pad and Montreal gained control and put in net.
In other Philly hockey news, the Phantoms are moving on to the division finals and facing the baby penns after beating Albany in game 7 with Scott Munroe getting the shutout. The player who seems to be coming up big for the Phantoms is Ryan Potulny, who scored the game winner and the 5OT goal in game 5. The Albany River Rats and the Philadelphia Phantoms both broke the record books in fewest goals scored in a 7 game series, Philadelphia with 11, and Albany with 12, the previous amount of goals was 13 goals. The teams also played a record-setting 513 minutes, 33 seconds in the series, which broke the record of 453:36 set by Cleveland and Pittsburgh in that same series. This broke broke a 55 year old record.
Scott Munroe is the man! 2 shutouts, .952% save percentage, and 1.29 goals against average in the playoffs. Munroe finished the series by allowing just one goal in his final 235:22 of play. He stopped 102 of 103 shots in that span, which began after Albany scored at 17:14 of the second period of Game 5.
Game 4 Preview: Montreal at Philadelphia
The Flyers are doing something they couldn’t do in the four games against Montreal this season, win. The Flyers gained a 2-1 series lead in the third game of this series as Mike Richards, Scottie Upshall, and RJ Umberger all scored for the Flyers. Montreal mounted a come back late in the third after Hatcher got kicked out of the game for a boarding major and scored two goals in less than 2 minutes apart to close the Flyers lead to 3-2. The Flyers penalty kill was very good most of the night, and even killed off 2 – 2 1/2 mintues of the minute major flawlessly. This was all a major upgrade from how the penalty kill was doing in the previous games. Martin Biron was steller for his second straight game as well.
Montreal goes down a game in this series and looks to tie it up tonight. The Flyers shook Carey Price well in game 3, and he got the yank after the second period with Halak coming in to relieve him in the third. Carbonneau has yet to say who’s starting in net, but in the post game interview he was quick to come to the defense of his young goalie. I still expect Price to be in net, but don’t be surprised if a goalie switch comes.
Meanwhile on the other end, for once, there is no goaltending controversy with the Flyers, as Martin Biron has been nothing but spectacular in this series, and pretty much since the last two games of the season. Biron posted 2 shutouts in his last two games, a shutout in game 2 in Washington in the quarterfinals, and he has been playing like a mad man the last two games of this series as well. Marty has a .922 save percentage and a 2.66 goals against average this series. Biron’s eyes says it all, at times he looks like a mad man in the crease.
Even though the Flyers won game 3, they still need to improve on not taking so many penalties, in game 4, they played almost half the game on the penalty kill, which was also spectacular. The Flyers killed off 2 1/2 of the 5 minute major on Hatcher’s boarding call before surrendering 2 goals in less than 2 minutes, which was the result of the penalty kill unit just being worn out. In fact they played almost the last ten minutes of the third being short handed, first with the 5 minute major then with Montreal pulling Halak for the extra attacker with a minute left.
Mike Knuble comes back to the line up tonight after missing the last 5 games with a hamstring injury. Look for Knuble to be back with Richards and Lupul, which means Umberger will once again move to a different line. Stevens said that it sucks that Umberger doesn’t have a “home” line but it does provide benefit that he can play on any line and still produce.
Captain Jason Smith, who led the team with four hits in game 3, said the Flyers have not played their best game yet and could still improve, that can spell trouble for Montreal.
The Flyers penalty kill and great goaltending will have to be sharp again as they try and take 3-1 series lead and have the next couple days off to rest, which the Flyers could use, before returning back to Montreal on Saturday to play game 5.
Keys to Flyers Victory:
Get shots on net, get Halak/Price rattled up
Take less penalties
Of the four series of the semi-final round, three series could be done by Friday as Dallas, Detroit, and Pittsburgh all have a 3-0 series lead. Dallas plays tonight at 9:00pm. Sean Avery walked into the hospital early this morning with a lacerated spleen, which happened during game 3 of the Rangers 5-3 loss to the Penguins. The cause is currently unknown and Avery will be out for the remainder of the post season. (link)
Megadeath’s lead singer, Dave Mustaine, responded to a Washington Post column about Flyers fans that read “women and children could be security for Megadeth,” he sent a videotaped message, supporting the Flyers, wearing a Jason Smith jersey.
Megadeth and the Philadelphia Flyers have joined up to give fans of both the team and the band a special playoff treat – a free downloadable iron-on so you can make your own Megadeth Security shirts. (official).