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Coburn's crease-crashing gets Flyers going

By Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

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Coburn's crease-crashing gets Flyers going
Getting off to a fast start Sunday was imperative for the Flyers as they looked to continue the momentum they built in the last round with their historic comeback against the Bruins, and defenseman Braydon Coburn got them started against the Canadiens with his first career playoff goal.
PHILADELPHIA -- Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn is a firm believer in quick starts.

He's preached it throughout these Stanley Cup Playoffs, stressing the importance of putting an opponent on its heels from the outset whenever possible.

In Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday, Coburn proved that point with his first career playoff goal en route to a 6-0 victory.

In the process, he not only sent the 19,927 in attendance at Wachovia Center into quite the celebratory mood just 3:55 into the contest, but set the tone for an offensive barrage that the City of Brotherly Love hadn't yet seen in these playoffs.

Heck, even Comcast-Spectacor Chairman Ed Snider had a hunch that Coburn would play a role in the triumph.

"It feels good," Coburn said. "It's kind of funny. I was getting ready for this game and about 15 minutes before faceoff, I was stretching out and Mr. Snider passed through the hallway and said, 'I think you're due for one tonight.' So that was kind of neat."

Snider then walked by Coburn during the postgame interviews and winked at the fifth-season defenseman to express his approval.

Coburn was Johnny on the spot during Philadelphia's first power-play of the game -- albeit a short 51-second stint with the man advantage -- when he crashed the net and popped home a rebound just outside the right post past Jaroslav Halak to give Philadelphia a 1-0 lead.

"That's not really where my spot is but I think Ville (Leino) got it in on the side and there was an opening," Coburn said. "The coach always tells you to jump in there, and once in there, you just bear down and get it into the net."

Coburn added an assist and his two-point night doubled his output through 12 playoff games this spring. But not only was Coburn productive on offense, he was a stalwart along the blue line with his usual partner, Kimmo Timonen.

Coburn logged 23:13 of ice time, including plenty of minutes both shorthanded (3:19) and on the power play (5:00), while delivering three hits and collecting two takeaways. He entered the game averaging 24:10 of ice time during the playoffs.

In 32 career playoff games prior to Sunday night, Coburn had 10 assists and a plus-7 rating.

"You don't really think about how you're going to do it -- you just want to try to get shots through and hopefully one goes in," he said.

Leino, who earned the primary assist on Coburn's goal, wasn't aware that the big defenseman connected for the first of his postseason career.

"Good for him," Leino said with a smile. "It's probably been a while. But we needed that goal. It was the first of the game and it helped us a lot. I was just looking for (Scott) Hartnell and a guy was going down so I tried to go around him and shoot. I knew guys were coming in, and I was just trying to put the puck there."

Despite the decisive victory, Coburn feels there is room for improvement.

"I think we do have a long way to go -- this was just one game, one win," he said. "It didn't matter if we won 1-0 or by what we did (Sunday). But it's time to regroup and look at some of the things we did well and also go back and look at things we can improve on for Game 2 (on Tuesday)."

And what can the team possibly improve on following a six-goal triumph?

"We didn't generate a lot of shots," Coburn said. "We need to get more shots to the net. I also thought we could have played a better first period. (Michael) Leighton had to make many big saves in the first."

The Canadiens outshot the Flyers 28-25, including 13-6 in the opening 20 minutes, but the Flyers did hold a decided advantage in hits (27-19) and takeaways (12-5).

"Every game tells a different story and, in this game, we were really good on the power-play (2-for-6) and special teams (Montreal finished 0-for-4 with the man advantage)," Coburn said. "It doesn't matter, when you get right down to it. We won the game and now we have to bury that game and refocus for Game 2."

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale


Quote of the Day

When somebody goes out and is there to score goals, but is also there to make some big hits, fight, do all of those things, and he has a great mustache, it was great to see him get that hit and get everybody going.

— Colin Wilson on teammate Eric Nystrom, who scored a goal in Predators' win vs. Kings
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