PHILADELPHIA (AP) -Derian Hatcher was like all the other Flyers fans who watched the last 15 minutes on TV. He did it in the locker room, feeling sick, stressed and helpless as the lead nearly slipped away.
Unlike the other orange-clad diehards, Hatcher could have prevented the frayed nerves Monday night.
When Philadelphia held on for the victory, Hatcher could thank Martin Biron that the defenseman's late ejection didn't cost them the series lead.
Biron stopped 32 shots and the Flyers scored three goals in the second period to beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-2, taking a 2-1 lead in their second-round series.
"Marty has been terrific. He's been our best player in this series," coach John Stevens said. "We probably felt going in that he would have to be."
Biron lost his shutout - and the Flyers nearly wasted a three-goal lead - when Hatcher was ejected in the third period and Montreal capitalized on the lengthy power play.
Hatcher drove his right arm into the center of defenseman Francis Bouillon's back and slammed him into the glass. Bouillon, who wears a visor, was cut near the corner of his right eye.
Hatcher was whistled for 5 minutes for boarding and a game misconduct, ending his night. That was all the opportunity Montreal needed to make its first serious run at Biron. It was nearly enough to tie the score.
"Your first reaction is you just hope the team can get through it," Hatcher said.
Tomas Plekanec quickly scored a power-play goal off a scrum in front of the net to make it 3-1. The goal was reviewed, but the replay showed the puck was over the line before the net became dislodged.
Saku Koivu was stopped on a breakaway by Biron's poke check in the first period, but he scored on the power play in the third to pull Montreal to 3-2.
"It got a little scary on the power play," Biron said.
Hatcher felt awful.
"Watching the last 15 minutes was a lot more draining than actually playing the game," Hatcher said. "I feel mentally exhausted right now."
The Flyers killed the rest of the penalty and Biron quickly reverted to the form of the first two periods, when he stopped shots in all kinds of ways. He made 17 of his saves in the third period while the Flyers took a measly two shots on goal.
No wonder he was serenaded again from the stands: "Mar-ty! "Mar-ty!" "Mar-ty!"
That's a sound the Flyers want to hear all the way to the Stanley Cup.
"It's fun when they chant your name," Biron said. "They challenge the guys to play better."
The Canadiens outshot Philadelphia 34-12.
"It seems that we're being tested right now," Koivu said. "I don't think we played as well tonight as we did in the second game, but still we were able to put a lot of pucks on net and create a lot of chances. That's a positive thing, but at the same time when you outshoot your opponent, you're hoping to get the win."
Mike Richards, R.J. Umberger and Scottie Upshall all scored goals on the first six shots of the second against 20-year-old Carey Price.
Price never made it to the end, yanked at the start of the third period for Jaroslav Halak. Price will get another shot in Game 4 on Wednesday in Philadelphia.
"Cary has proven in the past that he can bounce back and come back really strong," said Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau. "I know he can come back and play really strong."
After a scoreless first period, the Flyers made the most of their limited shots in the second.
Upshall fired a wrister past Price 7:04 into the period and another sold-out crowd roared in approval. One fan pressed a sign that read "The Price Is Wrong" against the glass.
Richards made it 2-0 when his short-handed goal bounced off Price's glove. Lasse Kukkonen was in the penalty box for holding the stick, putting the Flyers a man down. Who else but Richards would give them a lift? He scored five short-handed goals in the regular season, which led the Flyers and was tied for third in the NHL. Richards picked off the puck to score the unassisted goal.
Then the Flyers got what turned out to be a needed goal.
Jeff Carter poked the puck off Price, and Umberger, who briefly left in the third period after a collision, one-timed the rebound for the Flyers second goal in 3:07.
Umberger was fine when he skated on the ice for being chosen first star of the game.
The series turned testy in Game 2 when Tom Kostopoulos threw a blindside punch at Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen. Stevens called the punch "cheap" and Richards labeled it "gutless."
Carbonneau said Timonen deserved the hit because he smirked at the Canadiens after a Flyers goal.
The first blows in this one came late in the first period, when Flyers forward Steve Downie tripped Price, who had strayed out from the crease, from behind with his stick. Downie was briefly pinned against the boards by two Canadiens and soon players from both teams came flying down to the corner and got involved in the skirmish.
The Flyers crowd, which booed "O Canada," started chanting "U.S.A!" "U.S.A!"
Biron, a Canadian native, said the boos bothered him just as much as when the Montreal fans booed the "Star Spangled Banner."
"I don't like it, but you can't control 20,000 people," he said.
There were several other minor tussles, then Hatcher's slam in the third.
|Scottie Upshall (2) ASST: Joffrey Lupul (3)|
1 - 0 PHI
|SHG - Mike Richards (3) ASST: NONE|
2 - 0 PHI
|R.J. Umberger (5) ASST: Jeff Carter (2), Braydon Coburn (5)|
3 - 0 PHI
|PPG - Tomas Plekanec (2) ASST: Guillaume Latendresse (1), Sergei Kostitsyn (5)|
3 - 1 PHI
|PPG - Saku Koivu (2) ASST: Andrei Markov (3), Chris Higgins (2)|
3 - 2 PHI
|Saku Koivu Hooking against Scottie Upshall|
|Steve Downie Slashing against Francis Bouillon|
|Sami Kapanen Hooking against Francis Bouillon|
|Maxim Lapierre Roughing against Steve Downie|
|Mike Komisarek Roughing against Derian Hatcher|
|Derian Hatcher Roughing against Maxim Lapierre|
|Steve Downie Tripping against Carey Price|
|Steve Downie Roughing against Maxim Lapierre|
|Francis Bouillon Delaying Game-Puck over glass|
|Lasse Kukkonen Holding the stick against Bryan Smolinski|
|Derian Hatcher Boarding (maj) against Francis Bouillon|
|Derian Hatcher Game misconduct against Francis Bouillon|
|Lasse Kukkonen Interference against Steve Begin|
|Guillaume Latendresse Too many men/ice - bench|