The Philadelphia Flyers rebounded from their weak effort in game three to blank the Canadiens 3-0 in game four. Michael Leighton logged his third shutout in four games. Chris Pronger bounced back from a poor game three to being absolutely great in today's game. It's a great win for the Flyers. Now, the Flyers are one win away from going to the Stanley Cup Finals.
The first period saw two evenly matched teams battle it out. The momentum was swinging both ways and both teams had chances to score. Nobody did score though. It was a good period as far as the Flyers were concerned. The way they were dominated in the previous game, it was a good sign that they held their own against the Canadiens at home.
In the second period, the Flyers emerged as the better team. Claude Giroux cut into the Canadiens zone, easily splitting the dumbfounded Montreal defensemen. He then made a gorgeous shot over the shoulder of Jaroslav Halak, putting the Flyers up 1-0. Giroux's play has been great in the playoffs. He is only 22, but he is already one of the best players on the Flyers.
Ville Leino scored the second goal of the period for the Flyers. Chris Pronger zapped a laser-like pass across the ice to Leino. Ville was alone with the goalie. He stopped on the dime, and wheeled the puck around Halak. That goal was started on a beautiful pass by Pronger, and ended on a equally beautiful move by Leino.
The Flyers spent much of the third period dumping the puck into the Montreal zone. That seems to be their strategy when up by two or more in the third period. And it works. The Flyers kept Montreal frustrated all day. Claude Giroux scored an empty-net goal late in the game, to officially put the game away.
The Flyers got two players back from injury today. Jeff Carter and Ian Lapierriere both played in their first game in these Eastern Conference Finals. Jeff Carter looked good. Early in the game, Carter beat a defender and then unleashed a wicked wrist shot that was saved by Halak. Lapierriere played his usual game, albeit a little less physical because of the full mask protecting his face.
The teams will now travel back to Philly for game five on Monday. They Flyers need to win just one more game out of three, and two of those are at home. I'd like to avoid the drama of a game seven in this series. The Flyers cannot assume the series is won. The know quite well after last series that any team can come back from any deficit. With that said, let's wrap this one up on Monday.