ECF Game 1: One down as Leighton shuts out Habs, Flyers win 6-0 rout

A classic sign and an absurdly overvalued backup. Note that Sign Man also has another sign around his neck, which truly shows that his dedication to signage is beyond that of any other mortal. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Flyers lead series 1-0


The Flyers got by the Boston Bruins in round two by playing as a team. They got scoring from everywhere, solid goaltending from whoever was in net, and just did what they had to do as a team. There were no one-man efforts.

As the third round began at home tonight against Montreal, the Flyers took that team effort and just expanded it. Six goals. Six different goal scorers. A shut out from Michael Leighton. Power play success. Even strength success. Team defense. Excellent hockey in transition.

But in the first period, the Flyers were perhaps lucky to get out with the lead. The Flyers weren't nearly as sharp as they could have been and they allowed to get several nice scoring chances. Luckily, Leighton was up to the task, stopping all of them to keep the Habs off the board.

As a result, the Flyers were able to get out of the first period with the 1-0 lead, and from there, they took over. Power plays early in the second period gave them the chance to blow things wide open, and it was a big, orange party in South Philadelphia from there on. It's just one game, but it's one game that tastes real sweet.

A few assorted thoughts from the Game 1 win:

  • Leighton's rebound control was pretty excellent. It's a much improved department of his, and it was one of the reasons he picked up the shut out tonight.
  • Montreal didn't really get anybody in front of Leights. Not sure if that will change, but lets hope it doesn't.
  • Having such a big lead in the third period allowed the Flyers to rest some key players. Pronger only played 20 minutes, Timonen (only?) played 24 minutes, Richards only played 16, etc. Meanwhile, guys like Andreas Nodl and Dan Carcillo played nearly 10, and everybody else played at least 10. Can't underestimate the importance of this as things move forward.
  • Six goal scorers, six goals: you cannot underestimate that, either. 
  • P.K. Subban, the young goalie pylon the Montreal hype machine is drooling over: minus-3, looked terrible.
  • Halak was pulled in the second period, but keep in mind that the Penguins dropped six goals on Montreal in Game 1 of the ECSF and Halak came back on fire in the next game. This series is far from over.
  • With that said, the Flyers did all of the right things tonight when it comes to working up a formula to beat Halak. They got traffic in front, screened him well, etc.
  • The Flyers also did a great job of evading the Canadiens shot blockers. Montreal blocked more shots than anybody in the first two rounds, but the Flyers did a spectacular job in eliminating that threat, even though the Habs still blocked 20 of them. It's all about patience in the offensive zone, and the Flyers had plenty of it tonight.
  • Claude Giroux went 9 for 14 in the faceoff circle, including a win early in the second period that led directly to the second goal.
  • Kudos to everybody in attendance at the Wach tonight for the "Ole, Ole" chants. Wonderfully sarcastic, wonderfully awesome.
  • Ville Leino and James van Riemsdyk in particular are two guys who just continue to impress. Absolutely fantastic work by these guys. 
  • This is the first time the Flyers have had a series lead in the Conference Finals since 2000. They haven't won Game 1 since 1997.
  • 10 unanswered goals by these Flyers now. Anybody know the record?

After the jump, questions with answers and the comment of the night.

Questions with Answers

  1. Will the Flyers carry the Game 7 momentum into Game 1? They weren't great in the first period, so it's tough to say. Leighton perhaps did, though.
  2. Can Jaroslav Halak be beaten? Yes. Many, many times.
  3. Can the Flyers limit Mike Cammalleri? The Flyers limited everybody, but Cammalleri in particular only had one shot.
  4. The power play struggled against Boston, thanks in part to a great Bruins PK. Is it better against MTL? It can be better, but they scored twice with the man advantage.
  5. Five straight wins? Yes! 

Comment of the Night

Harwood just calling Laviolette "Peter." Good call on his part.

>> Ben Feldman

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