The Montreal Canadiens would surely love to roll the clock back just about now to a bygone era of the NHL.
Philadelphia's Daniel Briere, Simon Gagne, Claude Giroux -- a hat trick of French-Canadian firepower -- did a lot of offensive damage in the 6-0 series-opener between the Flyers and the Canadiens Sunday. Briere and Giroux each had a goal and two assists and Gagne also scored in the rout.
There was a time when anyone and everyone with a connection to La Belle Province was the property of the Canadiens, and how good would Briere, Gagne and Giroux look in bleu, blanc and rouge right about now?
However, those days are long gone. The Canadiens lost the monopoly on francophone players long ago, and now Montreal has to find a way to neutralize the Flyers' own "French connection" if they want to play for the Cup in June.
The odds are stacked high against Montreal, but then again that's hardly new.
Since the NHL went from three to four rounds in the playoffs in 1968, the team that has been extended to seven games in the first two series has run out of gas in round three. They are 0-for-12, including last season's edition of the Carolina Hurricanes.
The news doesn't get any better, either. Montreal has now lost its last five playoff games against Philadelphia.
In the 6-0 spanking, the Flyers chased Canadiens goalie Jaroslav Halak to the bench after he gave up four goals on 13 shots for a save percentage of .692.
Halak has yet to suffer two bad games back-to-back in Montreal's inspiring playoff run. And surely, candles will be lit across hockey-mad Quebec in the hopes Halak's ability to bounce back continues.
Besides needing Halak to regain form, the Canadiens will have to find a way to deal with Philadelphia's physically punishing play.
These Flyers aren't the Broad Street Bullies of yesteryear. They don't drop their gloves and fight at the drop of a hat and they don't have Bobby Clarke to challenge them in the dressing room every day. But they play hard, take the body and make you pay for every inch of ice.
There were rumors making the round this season about divisions within the Flyers' clubhouse, rumors about how captain Mike Richards was having a hard time leading the team with larger-than-life Chris Pronger in the same room.
Pronger goes to Edmonton and the Oilers are in the 2006 Stanley Cup Final. He's traded to Anaheim before the start of the 2006-07 season and the Ducks win the Stanley Cup in '07. Now he's in Philly and they are definitely in the hunt for hockey's holy grail.
The fact that Pronger has managed to play hockey late into the Spring so many times is no coincidence. Pronger is mean and, even at 35 years of age, he is a defensive force.
Add in three French-Canadian snipers and it could well be the lethal mix that puts a nasty end to the Habs' Cinderella fairy tale.