Flyers have Habs on verge of elimination

 

 
 
 
 
Two dejected Montreal Canadiens fans sit in the emptying arena following their team's 3-0 playoff loss against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Bell Centre in Montreal, on Saturday, May 22, 2010.
 
 

Two dejected Montreal Canadiens fans sit in the emptying arena following their team's 3-0 playoff loss against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Bell Centre in Montreal, on Saturday, May 22, 2010.

Photograph by: John Mahoney, MONTREAL GAZETTE

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MONTREAL — The Montreal Canadiens find themselves facing yet another elimination game after dropping a 3-0 decision to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday afternoon.

The win gave the Flyers a 3-1 edge in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference final. Game 5 goes Monday in Philadelphia.

Elimination games are nothing new to the Habs this playoff season. The club overcame a 3-1 series deficit in the conference quarter-finals against Washington only to win the next three and advance, and then rallied to oust the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins in the semifinal despite trailing the series 3-2.

The Canadiens will need to show that type of determination once again after falling apart in the second period Saturday. Montreal was outshot 13-1 in the frame and, thanks to a couple of critical mistakes, allowed the Flyers to take a 2-0 lead.

“We didn’t execute and we got away from the game plan,” Canadiens forward Tomas Plekanec said of Saturday’s effort. “We had too many guys trying to do it by themselves. We didn’t support the defence and they didn’t support us.”

Claude Giroux scored the game’s first goal after Kimmo Timonen picked off an errant pass from Maxim Lapierre in the neutral zone. Giroux took a pass from Timonen and skated in alone on Jaroslav Halak and scored his seventh goal of the playoffs at 5:41. Giroux also added an empty-net goal with 1:13 to play.

Ville Leino made it 2-0 on a breakaway at 14:53. Rookie P.K. Subban was trying to make something happen as he carried the puck into the Flyers’ zone, but he was caught out of the play when he found himself with no one on the receiving end of his pass. Chris Pronger picked up the loose puck and found Leino with a long, cross-ice pass.

“We played a lot in the danger zone,” said Canadiens coach Jacques Martin. “The blue-lines are important. When you’re at your blue-line, you have to get the puck out; at the other blue-line, you have to get the puck in deep. If you look at the two goals, they were both the result of mistakes we made.”

The Canadiens had a couple of chances to get back into the game in the third period but failed to take advantage. They had their only two power plays, but managed only one shot on goal.

Michael Leighton picked up his third shutout of the series and this was certainly the easiest. Montreal managed only 17 shots.

Neither team was able to score in the first period, but both goaltenders survived close calls.

Tomas Plekanec picked up a rebound off a shot by Andrei Kostitsyn and tested Leighton at the 5:30 mark. The puck trickled through the goaltender’s pads, but went wide.

Halak found himself in trouble at 13:30 after he stopped a shot by Matt Carle, but then lost sight of the puck in the crease. Daniel Briere reached around the goalie to nudge the puck into the net, but Hal Gill threw his body across the goalmouth and smothered the shot.

Moments earlier, Halak made a big save on a breakaway by Jeff Carter, who eluded Travis Moen at the blue-line and then split the defence. Carter was making his first appearance since he suffered a foot injury on April 20. The Flyers were also bolstered by the return of rugged Ian Laperriere from a concussion, brain contusion and fractured orbital bone.

Tom Pyatt suffered an undisclosed upper-body injury and missed the third period. Martin said his status would be evaluated Sunday.

Montreal Gazette

 
 
 
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Two dejected Montreal Canadiens fans sit in the emptying arena following their team's 3-0 playoff loss against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Bell Centre in Montreal, on Saturday, May 22, 2010.
 

Two dejected Montreal Canadiens fans sit in the emptying arena following their team's 3-0 playoff loss against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Bell Centre in Montreal, on Saturday, May 22, 2010.

Photograph by: John Mahoney, MONTREAL GAZETTE

 
Two dejected Montreal Canadiens fans sit in the emptying arena following their team's 3-0 playoff loss against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Bell Centre in Montreal, on Saturday, May 22, 2010.
Ian  Laperriere of the Philadelphia Flyers speaks to the media after defeating the Montreal Canadiens by a score of 3-0 to win Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bell Centre on May 22, 2010 in Montreal, Canada.
Montreal Canadiens goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) makes a save on shot by Philadelphia Flyers center Jeff Carter (17) during first period playoff action at the Bell Centre. The Flyers won, 3-0 to take a 3-1 series lead.
Jaroslav Halak #41 and P.K. Subban #76 of the Montreal Canadiens look on after giving up a goal to Ville Leino #22 of the Philadelphia Flyers in the second period of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Flyers won, 3-0 to take a 3-1 series lead.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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