Home > NHL > Flyers take Habs in 5

Flyers take Habs in 5


Jaroslav Halak and Michael Leighton share a moment after the Flyers eliminated Montreal in the Eastern Conference final. Credit: AP Photo.

 

Put on your riot gear everybody, Cinderella’s carriage turned back into a pumpkin. Monday night the improbable success story of the Montreal Canadiens finally ground to a halt in a 3-2 loss against Philadelphia. My game 5 prediction came true, and while that was one mighty upset for this new Habs supporter, I’ve found a new respect for Philly along the way. 

Things were looking up for the Habs when Brian Gionta scored 59 seconds into the game. Then Jaroslav Halak decided to play too far out of his crease. The ensuing traffic jam provided an opportunity for Philly, and Captain Mike Richards capitalized on it, tying the game 1-1. 

Philly opened the floodgates in the 2nd period with Arron Asham and Jeff Carter scoring nearly back-to-back goals on Halak. Carter’s goal is is definitely worth a rewatch. It’s one of those beautiful moments where everyone’s where they’re supposed to be and it all goes right. 

About halfway into the 3rd period Scott Gomez put one past Michael Leighton, shrinking Montreal’s deficit to 3-2. For a brief moment it looked like the Habs would surprise everyone again. Then it was down to the wire, Halak was pulled and Carter scored on the empty net, finishing the Habs off 4-2 and taking the Eastern Conference title. 

Tempting the fates? A very happy Mike Richards lifts the Prince of Wales Trophy. Credit: AP Photo.

 

I don’t need to tell any of you that Philadelphia completely dominated this series. They fell just once in game 3, where somehow the Habs managed to get the upper hand and steal a 5-1 victory. But whatever magic the Habs found went away just as quickly in game 4, which saw another spectacular shutout by Leighton. Then there was game 5, and well, you see how that went. 

Confession: previously, my opinion of Philly was what can only be described as lively hatred. I didn’t pay any attention to their playoffs run until they came to face Montreal. However, over the course of five games any hatred I had has dissipated into solid respect. I enjoy intense, hard-charging, physical hockey and Philly has given exactly that. 

Montreal wasn’t able to meet them blow for blow. The Habs were playing a much more physical game in game 5 but it looked more like desperation than any drive to fight another day. For a while it seemed like someone needed to stick a revolving door on the penalty box. 

This series marks a sad end to Montreal’s unlikely advance up the ranks, but it also marks a glimmer of hope for the Flyers who now look to win their first Stanley Cup since 1975.

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