Before the playoffs started if you were to tell a Habs fan they would draw the Bruins and Flyers in the first two rounds the corners of their smiles may have touched both of their ears, but after a war of a first round against Boston many Habs fans must be looking back thinking “be careful what you wish for”.
Philadelphia is the 2nd of 3 Eastern Conference teams the Habs swept this season. Montreal won all four games against the Flyers out scoring them 15-6. Carey Price won 3 of those games and earned his first career shutout in a 1-0 win over the Flyers in the middle of February.
So far in the post season Philadelphia has been an offensive force, they lead the playoffs in goals for and have two of the top four scorers. Daniel Briere leads the league with 11 points while Vaclav Prospal has 9 and is currently tied with Ovechkin and Iginlia for 2nd.
The Flyers and Canadiens both have scored 13 goals at 5 on 5 but the Flyers continued their power play success into the playoffs as they have potted 7 goals while at the man advantage. During the regular season the Flyers power play was second all season to only the Canadiens. Montreal was running at near 25% all season long but Zdeno Chara and the Boston Bruins threw a wrench in the Habs game plan and slowed them to 9.1% (the worst of all remaining 8 teams)
The only negative for the Flyers is with all their power play production they allowed more power play goals than they scored thanks to undisciplined and untimely penalty’s.Philadelphia scored a questionable goal in game seven when Patrick Thoresen ran Shaone Morrisonn into Cristobal Huet leaving Sami Kapanen the wide open net to score on. Carey Price knows what he is getting into though. “Every round it gets worse,” said Price with a shrug. “The traffic is just a log jam in front of the net.”
Homecoming for Daniel Briere and Martin Biron wont be so pleasant as the Bell Centre will bring out the Boo Birds for Mr. Briere partly because he chose not to sign in Montreal in the off-season and partly because he is a star in Philadelphia. On the flip side Montreal won’t feel too welcome when they arrive in Philadelphia for game’s 3 and 4 as the Flyers faithful will be ready with mouthfuls of jabs and jeers.
On the injury front, Montreal has no injures keeping any players from playing although Andrei Markov has missed a few practises with my favourite playoff injury “overall body soreness”. The Flyers on the other hand added Mike Knuble to their IR list as he suffered a torn hamstring injury. Knuble joins Simon Gagne (concussion) and Mike Rathje (back) on the sidelines.
Game 1 Thursday, April 24, 7pm et (CBC)(RDS) Philadelphia @ Montreal
Game 2 Saturday, April 26, 7pm et (CBC)(RDS) Philadelphia @ Montreal
Game 3 Monday, April 28, 7pm et (CBC)(RDS) Montreal @ Philadelphia
Game 4 Wednesday, April 30, 7pm et (CBC)(RDS) Montreal @ Philadelphia
Game *5 Saturday, May 3, 7pm et (CBC)(RDS) Philadelphia @ Montreal
Game *6 Sunday, May 4, 7pm et (CBC)(RDS) Montreal @ Philadelphia
Game *7 Tuesday, May 6, 7pm et (CBC)(RDS) Philadelphia @ Montreal