Flyers Trounce Habs in Game 1

PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia Flyers didn’t have a need for a miracle comeback in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals Sunday night against the Montreal Canadiens.

The Flyers scored on the first shot of the game and there was no looking back, as they beat the Habs 6-0 for a convincing win on home ice only two days after becoming just the third team in NHL history to win a series after going down three-games-to-none. This time, the Flyers are off to the hot start and the Habs, who have had some comeback magic of their own this playoff season, will have to quickly find a way to counter the orange and black’s attack.

Philadelphia is the first number seven seed to host a playoff series in the history of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Montreal, the eighth seed, has already knocked off the top-seeded Washington Capitals and the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins, both in seven games.

Philadelphia did something that neither the Caps nor Pens could do on a regular basis, which was chase Jaroslav Halak from the Canadiens net. He allowed four goals on 14 shots and was pulled from the game in the second period with the Habs down 4-0.

Carey Price came in, but would fair not any better, as he gave up the remaining two goals on the scoreboard. Still, no one was blaming Halak on a bad night for everyone in a Habs jersey.

“I think tonight we didn’t play a team game,” Montreal coach Jacques Martin after the game. “We played an individual game, and you can’t be successful that way.”

Despite being down 1-0, Montreal did put a lot of pressure on Michael Leighton, but he didn’t allow anything past him. The Flyers were actually outshot 13-6 in the first period and were generally outplayed in that first stanza.

But then came the second period, and all heck broke loose for the Flyers’ offense.

Just 30 seconds into the second period Claude Giroux won a faceoff and pushed the puck towards the Montreal net with James Van Riemsdyk, got two shots off with the second one finding the back of the net for a 2-0 lead. Less than four minutes later, Daniel Briere scored on a blast from the right face-off circle and the route was officially one. Simon Gagne got into the act at the 9:53 mark and that was it for Halak on the night. Giroux and Scott Hartnell would finish off the scoring for the night.

Flyers Head Coach Peter Laviolette knows his team won’t have it easy the rest of the series despite the lopsided score in Game 1.

“Game 2 is going to be a battle. It really is, and that’s why I said we’re going to have to be better,” he said It’s easy to look at the score and think it was easy. Montreal got here, you know, for a reason. Our team, we’re going to have to play a better hockey game, especially in the first period, but even in parts of the second period. 

“The third period was kind of…I don’t know. Once you get up a few goals you, you sit back and play defense, it’s hard for the other team to generate offense. It’s almost like you’re just killing time. But when the game mattered and it was on the line, we need to do a better job.”

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