Monday, February 8, 2016

Flyers flattened in Montreal

Canadiens 5, Flyers 1

Flyers flattened in Montreal

Arron Asham gets pushed around by Brian Gionta and Dominic Moore. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)
Arron Asham gets pushed around by Brian Gionta and Dominic Moore. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)

The Flyers' first question on a night like this is simple enough:

Did someone get the number of that autobus?

Run over -- that is what happened to the Flyers on Thursday night in the Bell Centre. They arrived in Montreal with a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven conference final series against the Canadiens. They left the arena with only a 2-1 advantage, and with several loose molars.

Final score: Canadiens 5, Flyers 1.

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That the Canadiens got a lot braver with every degree of latitude that they were able to put between themselves and the Wachovia Center was obvious enough. But they also got faster. What had been a one-sided series on the scoreboard -- the Flyers' had a 9-0 advantage in the first two games -- has now been completely turned on its head.

Chris Pronger and Matt Carle, the Flyers' top defense pair, had a particularly tough night. They were on the ice for all four Montreal goals. Pronger had not been on the ice for a 5-on-5 goal since the first period of Game 3 of the Boston series -- more than seven full games overall, an amazing streak. But he had an especially egregious turnover that led to the Canadiens' second goal, a score by Tom Pyatt that had to be confirmed by a replay review because of the tangle of sticks and skates that the puck seemed to hit before going in. As for Carle, he appeared to be outmuscled in a couple of key spots.

The Canadiens had a ton of good scoring chances and decisively outshot the Flyers in the game. That said, Flyers goaltender Michael Leighton made some excellent saves. However, he also let in a puck that sneaked through his pads on Montreal's third goal by Dominic Moore.

Simon Gagne's spinaround goal at 8:22 of the third period finally got the Flyers on the scoreboard. It was the only puck they got past Canadiens goaltender Jaroslav Halak, who made several big early saves -- two on Claude Giroux, and another on Ville Leino, to name three -- but was not taxed overall. After his first two games in the series, it was the kind of game he needed -- because he is still an enormous part of any success the Canadiens will hope to have.

Now, the key question for the Flyers will be this: how short are their memories?





Daily News Executive Sports Editor
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About this blog
Rich Hofmann arrived at the Daily News in 1980 for a job whose status was officially designated as "full-time, temporary." A senior at Penn at the time, he was hired to fill in on the copy desk during a staff illness. The notion of him covering the Eagles or being a columnist did not exist in anyone's imagination. It was supposed to be six weeks and out, but he never left. It is only one of the reasons why so many people have concerns about him as a potential house guest. Rich has blogged the postseasons of the Flyers and Eagles. E-mail Rich at Reach Rich at

Rich Hofmann Daily News Executive Sports Editor
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