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Penalty-killers turn in another yeoman's job

By Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

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Penalty-killers turn in another yeoman's job
From Mike Richards' game-tying shorthanded goal to the late kill of a double minor to Chris Pronger, the Flyers’ penalty-killing unit shined Monday.
PHILADELPHIA  -- When Flyers defensemen Chris Pronger was whistled for a double-minor for high-sticking midway through the third period with his team holding a one-goal lead, a resounding grown emanated from the 19,986 fans in Wachovia Center.

It wasn't what the fans wanted to see in a game that provided an opportunity to see the Flyers clinch their first Stanley Cup Final berth in 13 years.

But the Flyers, as they have done all season on the penalty-kill, rolled up their sleeves and got down to business. It was another opportunity to prove their mettle.

What else is new?

The Flyers would stymie the Canadiens for the first 2:37 of that man advantage with one of their best penalty-killers off the ice. Montreal's Glen Metropolit would be whistled for tripping Ian Laperriere to wipe out the remaining time.

"I think guys just did what they had to do," Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn said. "(Michael Leighton) stood pretty tall in there. He's pretty comfortable and collected and we needed him to come up with some big stops going down the stretch, that's what we needed. We tried blocking down as much as we could. Penalties happen in a game and you just have to deal with it and that's what we'd been doing all year."

For the fifth-straight game in this series, the Flyers successfully bottled up the Canadiens when they were a man short. They killed all six Montreal power plays Monday and yielded just one goal on 25 chances in the five-game series.

Leighton was masterful when he needed to be. He'd finish the game with 25 saves, including 11 in the third period.

"It wasn't much fun (when we got that double-minor)," Leighton said. "We obviously did a great job. Our PK was really good (Monday). When they took that penalty with a minute-and-a-half left of it, I was pretty excited. It actually worked out to our advantage. (Pronger) took a four-minute penalty, and sat in the box and rested for four minutes. He came out and had a good last 3-4 minutes for us."

Mike Richards, who tied the game on the team's first shorthanded goal of the playoffs 4:25 into the first, said it was a team effort on the penalty-kill throughout the entire series. There was Blair Betts and Ian Laperriere, combining for four blocked shots. Claude Giroux and Darroll Powe, who logged 4:40 and 4:36 of shorthanded ice time, respectively, were absolute beasts. And defensemen Coburn, Pronger, Matt Carle and Kimmo Timonen and goalie Leighton were the poised catalysts.

The Flyers blocked 19 shots Monday on the way to their 4-2 triumph over the Canadiens -- two days after being credited with 27 blocks in a 3-0 victory in Game 4.

"A perfect example is Lappy (Laperriere) and Betts; that kind of (work) goes unnoticed," Richards said. "(Powe) and the system that Pete (coach Peter Laviolette) has put in … I think everybody's bought in; and blocking shots is something that I think we put a big emphasis on before any game, especially on the PK. Our defense does a great job -- everybody's bought into the system.

"You put your body on the line, whether it's finishing hits or blocking shots, and we've done a great job of that so far in the playoffs," Richards said. "I think it's shown with the victories."

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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