Thursday, May 20, 2010

Canadiens/Flyers Game 3: Habs solve the Leighton puzzle


The Montreal Canadiens fired 38 shots at the Philadelphia Flyers goal, put bodies in front of the net and played a solid 60 minute game on Thursday night.

Backed by the loud Bell Centre crowd, the end result was a dominant 5-1 win in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Final.

Montreal finally solved Flyers goalie Michael Leighton’s shutout streak, when Michael Cammalleri banked a rebound off the Flyers netminder’s backside at 7:05 of the first period.

Jaroslav Halak had his easiest night of the series thus far, with a 25-save effort, but came up big on several Flyers scoring chances when called upon.

The Canadiens took a two-goal lead when Chris Pronger coughed up the puck in his own zone. Dominic Moore’s ensuing shot hit the post and bounced off the foot of Tom Pyatt and into the goal at 16:52. The goal was reviewed to clarify whether Pyatt kicked it in.

The home team continued to mount pressure, throughout the second period, and finally found the back of the net again when Moore shot’s beat Leighton five-hole at 11:33.

Brian Gionta added his eighth of the playoffs at 2:00 of the third, slipping past the Flyers defense deking out Leighton to put the Canadiens up by four.

“I thought we played well from the start,” said Gionta. “Obviously we were executing much better than we did in Games 1 and 2.”

Simon Gagne finally got the Flyers on the board at 8:22, when his shot bounced off Canadiens defenceman Hal Gill, and the post before crossing the goal line.

Marc-Andre Bergeron added a fifth goal for the Canadiens, during a 5-on-3 power play, after things got rough between the two teams. A minute earlier, the referees handed out twenty minutes in penalties to the two teams.

"It was a good old-fashioned ass-kicking," Flyers captain Mike Richards said. "They handed it to us right from the get-go.”

It had been clear the Flyers frustrations hand been building throughout the game and ultimately led to the team’s breakdown. The question will be whether coach Peter Laviolette can get his squad back to the disciplinary level they had in the first two games.

“We need to regroup tomorrow and understand that they’re a team that plays a lot different at home,” said Pronger. “They played a lot better and skated a lot harder. We need to be a lot better and understand what it’s going to take to be successful.”

The Canadiens Roman Hamrlik had two assists, with a plus-4 rating, earning the game’s First Star. “In the first two games we didn’t do things as a team,” he said. “We don’t have any superstars, so we have to play as 20 hard-working guys who compete every shift.”

The Flyers now hold a two games to one lead in the series. Game Three goes Saturday afternoon in the Bell Centre at 3pm.

Three Stars: 1. Roman Hamrlik 2. Dominic Moore 3. Tom Pyatt

Game Photo: Allen McInnis (Montreal Gazette)

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