In the kitchen:
Philadelphia's four goals against Jaroslav Halak
in Game 1 all came with a Flyer somewhere in the general vicinity. "He was playing well in the playoffs, so we wanted to test him as much as we can, and I think the guys in front of the net did a great job of blocking his view," Philadelphia's Claude Giroux
said. It will be interesting to see if Montreal's defense -- which only possesses one physically intimidating defenseman in Hal Gill
-- will be able to do a better job of deterring the Flyer forwards from crashing the crease.
Help's on the way?:
Montreal did not have the strength on the blue line to move the Flyer forwards from the front of the net on a regular basis. To address that weakness, Montreal coach Jacques Martin may well decide to re-insert bruising defenseman Ryan O'Byrne
back in the lineup. O'Byrne lost his spot when Jaroslav Spacek
returned from injury late in the Pittsburgh series. But he may be the brawn Montreal needs more against Philadelphia. In fact, the Canadiens may dress seven defensemen and deploy Marc-Andre Bergeron
as a forward.
I'll be back:
Nothing, it seems, bothers Montreal goalie Jaroslav Halak
. He has been pulled three times in these playoffs, but responded with a win in his next start each of the first two times. In each of those games, he allowed just one goal.
Montreal has played 15 games this postseason, yet has just four players who have reached double digits in points. With Philadelphia possessing a top shutdown pair in Chris Pronger
and Matt Carle
-- and owning last change to get the matchups it wants at the Wachovia Center -- Montreal must get some scoring from players not named Michael Cammalleri
, Brian Gionta
, Tomas Plekanec
or Scott Gomez
Unbeatable?: Michael Leighton
has made quite the impression in net for the Flyers this spring. He has started three games since the injury to Brian Boucher
in game 5 of the Boston series and won them all. More impressively, he has allowed just four goals in that span and is nursing a shutout streak of 105 minutes and 50 seconds. Sunday's shutout in Game 1 was Leighton's first career playoff shutout.