The Canadiens went to their strength to beat the Philadelphia Flyers 5-1 in game three of the Eastern Conference Final Thursday night at the Bell Centre.  The Canadiens strength is speed and it was there in abundance.  Led by the Canadiens third line of Dominic Moore, Maxim Lapierre and Tom Pyatt, the Canadiens kept the Flyers pinned in their own end for extended periods and accounted for two goals, including the eventual game winner by Tom Pyatt late in the first period. Pyatt and Moore were named stars in the game behind first star Roman Hamrlik, who was plus-4 in the game. Hamrlik’s playing partner, P.K. Subban recorded three assists and was plus-3.

Michael Cammalleri scored his playoff leading 13th goal at 7:05 of the first period to end Michael Leighton’s 172 minute shutout streak.  Dominic Moore, Brian Gionta and Marc Andre Bergeron scored the other goals.  Simon Gagne ruined Jaroslav Halak’s shutout bid near the midway point of the third period with the Canadiens leading 4-0.  The Canadiens outshot the Flyers 38-26; the first time in the playoffs the Canadiens won a game in which they recorded more shots than their opponent. 

  (Video Game Highlights below)

How It Went

First Period

Setting The Tone– Jaroslav Halak was asked to make three important saves in the first six minutes of the game.  Chris Pronger in the second minute, Daniel Briere at 3:40 and a point blank pad save on Ville Leino at 5:25.

The Ice Breaker-  At 7:05 of the period Subban let a hard shot go that was deflected behind the net.  The puck came off the back boards the other side of the net where Cammalleri had cleared some space for himself.  First goal of the series for the Canadiens.  1-0. 

Taking Hold – The Canadiens continued to run up the shot clock in much the same fashion as game two.  Lapierre, Spacek, Pouliot and Pouliot again as the Canadiens took a 13-7 shots advantage.

The Big Hurt- In the 17th minute Chris Pronger was checked off the puck by Dominic Moore.  Moore’s shot was tipped off the post by Lapierre and right to Pyatt who was attacking the net.  The puck went off his leg past Leighton.  It was reviewed and ruled a good goal.  2-0 Canadiens.

Penalty Trouble-Pronger was hit with a tripping penalty at 18:27 and at 19:35 Braydon Coborn was called for hooking. With a two man advantage, Cammalleri hit the post behind Leighton.  End of the first period 2-0 Canadiens.  Shots on goal 17-9.

Second Period

Men at Work-The Canadiens continued to use their speed advantage.  Early in the period an impressive shift by the line of Moen, Metropolit and Cammalleri with Moen creating a scoring chance; the Canadiens 20th shot of the game.

Extending the Lead- At the end of another great shift from the Moore line, Tom Pyatt won a battle along the boards and Moore buried a 40 footer.  3-0 at 11:33 of the period.

Still Pressing – As the period wound down, Plekanec, Gionta and Kostitsyn had scoring chances.  End of two periods 3-0.  Canadiens through two periods outshooting the Flyers 28-18.

Third Period

The Clincher– In the second minute of the period, Pronger, who has had better nights tried to glove the puck and missed it, allowing Gionta to break in alone.  Given time, Gionta held the puck..and then held some more forcing Leighton to make all of the moves.  Gionta then scored on the short side.  4-0 Habs at 2:00.

The Shutout Bid Ends – At 8:22 of the third, Simon Gagne took a Daniel Carcillo pass out, wheeled and scored just inside the post on Halak.  4-1.

The Predictable Flyers-Faced with a loss, the final minutes of the game were penalty filled.  The Flyers picked up 13 minutes in penalties through the final 1:51 of the game to the Canadiens nine minutes.  Included in this were fighting majors to Roman Hamrlik and Scott Hartnell. 

The Game Ender-On the power play with 31 seconds remaining and the Canadiens on a two-man advantage Marc-Andre Bergeron buried one of his hard slapshots.  P.K. Subban picked up the first assist, his third of the game.  Final score – Canadiens 5  Philadelphia 1.  Final shots on goal 38-26.

Summing It Up- Clearly the pre-game words from Jacques Martin and echoed in the dressing room after the game was “Concentrate on the process, not the result.”  The process was dump the puck in and use speed to force the Flyers defence to go back for it and protect it. It took it’s toll on them on this night.  The Flyers might argue that they weren’t skating well, which may hold some water, but the Canadiens played the kind of hockey that brought them from behind in the first two rounds of the playoffs.  Much made of the Flyers size and physical presence in the first two games of the series.  As Jacques Martin pointed out in the post-game news conference, the Washington Capitals are an even bigger team than Philadelphia.  Speed won the night.  Flyers still lead the series two games to one.  Game four at 3:00pm Saturday.

The Goalscorers – Canadiens –  Cammalleri (13th) (Subban-Hamrlik); Pyatt (2nd) (Lapierre-Moore); Moore (4th) (Pyatt-Gorges); Gionta (8th) (Hamrlik-Subban); Bergeron (2nd) PPG (Subban-Gomez)     Philadelphia Gagne (7th) (Carcillo-Pronger)

Shots on Goal  – Philadelphia 9-9-8 = 26  Montreal  17-11-10 = 38

Three Stars – First – Roman Hamrlik (2 assists – plus4 – 3 shots on goal);  Second – Dominic Moore (1 goal  1 assist  plus-2)   Third – Tom Pyatt (1goal 1assist   plus-1)


—Michael Cammalleri logged the most ice time off all Canadiens players, forward and defence – 24:43.

—-The Flyers had won six straight games dating back to game four of the semi-final round against Boston.

—-The Canadiens were playing their first home game in ten days.

—-Michael Leighton’s shutout streak ended at 172:05.