Scott Gomez had an awful game. Michael Cammalleri’s game disappeared. The pair of Hal Gill and Josh Gorges blocked one shot between them through the first two periods. Brian Gionta managed one shot. P.K. Subban was minus-3. Jaroslav Halak let in four goals on thirteen shots.
If a coach ever can figure out the why’s of team mass lethargy, he will go to the head of the class in the Hall of Fame. It took one period for the Flyers to figure out that the Canadiens were completely out to lunch. After that, it was easy.
The Canadiens have made it thus far on sheer hard work. When they don’t work, they are beaten. Badly. We saw it during the wild swings of the regular season and the four or five games during the playoffs. Four times in fifteen games they’ve let in six goals. In one three game stretch in the Washington series, all losses, they gave up 17 goals.
But, the Canadiens have become the story of this year’s playoffs because of their ability to shrug off their brutal efforts.
The Flyers are playing a good brand of playoff hockey, but they are not the second coming of the Edmonton Oilers. Like the Canadiens, who got into the playoffs with an overtime point against Toronto in their 82nd game, the Flyers were in a win and advance – lose and go home situation in their season’s last game against the Rangers. They beat the Rangers in overtime and wound up in 7th place.
The Flyers’ playoff run, like the Canadiens, has been noted for it’s grit. The Flyers bring different tools to the game than Montreal has. Speed, goaltending and desire against a balanced attack, size and also a will to win. Combine the two and we have the makings of another long, emotional series.