Marty Biron shined with 34 saves and R.J. Umberger finally made his post season presence felt with two goals, as the Flyers took down the Canadians, 4-2, Saturday night at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
In what was almost an exact repeat of game one, the Flyers jumped to two-goal lead early in the first, only to allow the Habs to climb back into the contest. Both of the Flyers’ goals came high glove on Carey Price, who looked as mediocre as any goalie has this season and has had a problem with his catching hand.
But instead of having the killer instinct that has evaded the Flyers so often this post season, Philly turned the puck over and failed to get momentum out of their own zone. The breakdowns led to penalties and an eventual Saku Koivu goal.
Aside from Biron stuffing one-year wonder Tomas Plekanec on a breakaway (Biron’s second breakaway save in as many games), the difference between a win and loss came late in the second when accused Montreal traitor Danny Briere took a nice Vinny Prospal pass — skated around a defender — and in one swift “Rick Nash’esque” motion, cut across the crease and buried the Flyers third goal.
Montreal countered midway through the third when Andrei Markov cut to the net, catching lone slot defender Joffry Lupul in his sleeping bag. Markov, as per usual, didn’t miss, cutting the Flyers lead to only one, 3-2.
But instead of crumbling under the pressure of the Canadians hot shot offense, Umberger played a game of who wanted it more, knocking a Scottie Upshall pass out of overly lackadaisical Price’s glove and into the net to put the game out of reach for the Habs.
After the goal, Flyers bad boy Kimmo Timonen was allegedly giggling at Montreal’s purse snaching greek Tom Kostopoulos. Kostopoulos took offense to Timonen’s smirking and circled around behind the Flyers defenseman, proceeding to punch him in the back of the head. Flyers coach John Stevens called Kostopoulos’ actions “cowardly”, while Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau said Kimmo “deserved it”.
Marty Biron – Biron did what everyone said he couldn’t do but what ever goalie needs to do to get their team to the cup — He made huge playoff caliber saves to steal the game. For the Habs it must have felt like Marty’s glove was a fishing net and they were trying to shoot dolphins through it.
R.J. Umberger – Umberger was virtually invisible in the post season before burying two of the biggest goals of his career against the Habs in game two. Since Mike Knuble tore his hamstring in game five against the Capitals, Umberger has been slow to fill the void but has come on strong of late with three goals in two games. When motivated, the big-headed winger has the talent and size to be dominant, but his motivation has proven to be completely random — even in a contract year.
Referees – Although there were 22 PIM called during the contest, most of the calls were just and seemingly free of agenda. The refs (Paul Devorski and Mike Leggo) let the players play and either called both players or none during post-whistle scrums. If the stripes called every game like they did game two, no one would be harping on the officiating mess that has grown so large there are chirps in the media of favoritism and the fix being in.
Faceoffs turnaround – After winning only 27 of 68 faceoffs in game one, the Flyers’ centers — led by Danny Briere winning 8 of 12 for a team-high 67% — turned it around in game two, winning 32 of 60 draws.
Tomas Plekanec – It seems that every time the Canadians had an incredible chance, it was off the stick of 26 year old Plekanec and into the pads, off the post or against the glass. The Czech also blew a clean breakaway chance by putting on a slow deke and backhanding a shot directly into the glove of Biron. If Plekanec buries half his chances, the Flyers aren’t in this series.
Tom Kostopoulos cheap shotting Timonen – If you have a problem with someone in the NHL it is perfectly respectable to sock them in the face (with most Philadelphians applauding you in the process). But the key to being respectable is to at least have the victim facing you when you do it. Not only did Kostopoulos hit one of the less-aggressive Flyers, but did it from behind which amplifies how embarrassing the scenario was. If Tom wanted to scrap so bad there are plenty of people on the Flyers who would be willing.