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Flyers Rebound, Inch Closer to Stanley Cup Finals

May 22, 2010 – 7:23 PM
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A.J. Perez

A.J. Perez %BloggerTitle%

MONTREAL -- The Philadelphia Flyers aren't much for drama this round.

The franchise that became only the third in NHL history to fully extricate itself after dropping the first three games of a best-of-seven series last round is now three periods away from the Stanley Cup Finals after dominant 3-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals at the Bell Centre on Saturday.

The Flyers took a 3-1 series lead largely by keeping their cool, something that was lacking in an embarrassing 5-1 loss in Game 3.

"We were much better at controlling our emotions [and] not letting their guys that talk a lot get into our heads," Flyers forward Danny Briere said. "I think as the game [went] on, they got more and more frustrated, so that's the way we have to keep it."

Flyers lead series, 3-1
Flyers 3, Canadiens 0: Recap | Box Score | Series Page

The Canadiens, Canada's last hope to end a 17-year Stanley Cup drought for the nation, may have lost any chance to end that slump in the second period. Claude Giroux and Ville Leino both were able to get behind the Canadiens' defense at even-strength and deked Montreal goalie Jaroslav Halak for goals in the second.

"I don't think they did anything out of the ordinary tonight. ... We didn't challenge them enough and they were probably waiting for that."
-- Mike Cammalleri
Meanwhile, the Habs failed to register a shot until a wrister by Maxim Lapierre on Flyers goalie Michael Leighton with 6:26 left in the period.

"I'm not concerned about our energy," Habs forward Michael Cammalleri said. "I don't know what exactly the reason is for it, but our execution wasn't there in the second period."

Giroux sent Canadiens fans home early with an empty-net goal with just over a minute remaining in the game.

There was a bit of redemption for Flyers, whose defense struggled mightily here in Game 3.

Chris Pronger, a minus-3 on Thursday, had an assist an Leino's goal, was a plus-1 in Game 4. His defensive partner, Matt Carle, also shook of a lackluster outing to get six of the Flyers' 27 blocked shots.

"Obviously, when you have a tough game, you want a rebound," Pronger said. "That's the sign of a professional and I think we all realized there wasn't too many of us that had a good game in Game 3. They obviously played well and we didn't. We needed to rebound."

The Habs now find themselves in a 3-1 series deficit, the same place they were against the Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Flyers became the first team to blank the Canadiens three times in a series as Leighton stopped all 17 shots -- the fewest Philadelphia has allowed in the playoffs -- thrown on net that weren't blocked by his defenders. Several goalies have had three shutouts in a series, bur Leighton is in the running to become the first to log four shutouts in a series.

"Well, obviously it's nice any time you get a shutout," Leighton said. "But I'm not really concerned about shutouts right now. I'm concerned about winning. Tonight that's not really even on my mind about the shutout."

Flyers forwards Jeff Carter and Ian Laperriere -- both out due to injury since the first round -- took the ice for the warm-up and saw game action for the first time in about a month.

Carter, the Flyers second-leading scorer during the regular season who had been out due to a foot injury, skated nearly 14 minutes and had four shots -- including a mini-breakaway after he split two defenders that was stopped by Halak in the first period. Laperriere, who was lost to a brain contusion, played about nine minutes and registered a coincidental roughing penalty.

"It's my first game back, so I don't think I'm 100 percent," Carter said. "My foot, where the break is, feels really good. Really since I started skating I haven't had that much pain."
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