As we’ve been doing since the playoffs were supposed to begin, we here at PhillySportsNetwork are bringing you recaps from past playoff performances. This time, we take a look at the series clinching game five of the 2010 series against the Montreal Canadiens.
Tale of the Tape
The Philadelphia Flyers had made it into the playoffs on the last day of the regular season. They earned 88 points in 82 games, good for the seventh seed. They leapfrogged one team on their way to the playoffs. That team? The Montreal Canadiens. Montreal finished with the same amount of points, but less wins, so the tiebreaker belonged to Philadelphia.
The Flyers had defeated New Jersey in the first round. The series went to five games, and the Flyers ousted the second seed. In the first round, Montreal ousted the one seed Washington Capitals in a huge upset. The second round saw one of the most historic comebacks in all of sports, as the Flyers defeated the Bruins in seven games after falling down three games to none in the first three. Montreal defeated Pittsburgh in seven games, setting the stage for a showdown of the bottom two seeds in the Eastern Conference Finals.
There was a goal in the first minute of the first frame, and it belonged to Montreal. Brian Gionta entered the zone with speed, and dropped the puck to Scott Gomez. Gionta drove the net, nobody picking him up, and got the feed from Gomez and beat Michael Leighton far side for the games first goal. :59 into the game, and the Canadiens are looking to stave off elimination, going up 1-0.
Then, history happened. Again.
Montreal was on the powerplay, but gave up a 3-on-2 rush to the Flyers. Mike Richards would drop to Claude Giroux, who dropped to the trailer, Braydon Coburn. Coburn would get robbed by Jaroslav Halak, springing the Habs the other way. Matt Carle knocks the puck loose from Glen Metropolit along the boards, and Giroux swoops in to attempt the clear. The puck floats to the neutral zone, with Mike Richards & Roman Hamrlik in pursuit. Halak comes out of his net, collides with Richards and Hamrlik, and all three go down. Richards recovers quickly, and chases the puck to the side of the net, and backhands home the shorthanded, uncontested goal. It’s all tied up at one, and we have witnessed “The Shift.”
The action wasn’t over, as the Flyers looked to add another before the end of the period. Arron Asham and Hal Gill were chasing down a puck along the boards in the Philadelphia zone. Asham gained control, and beat Gill for the breakaway attempt.
Asham skated to Halak’s right and went far side, but it sailed high and the score remained tied. The second period would see Asham redeem himself.
About three minutes in, Montreal’s Andrei Kostitsyn would trie to clear the puck in the Montreal zone, but Matt Carle would keep it in. Carle would then find a wide-open Asham who deked backhand, went forehand, and beat Halak short-side to put the Flyers up 2-1 early in the middle frame.
About a minute and a half later, the Flyers would strike again. Jeff Carter would cycle the zone and drop to Kimmo Timonen along the boards. Timonen would pass to Mike Richards behind the net. Richards would immediately find Jeff Carter to Halak’s right and Carter would ring one off the post and in, putting the Flyers up 3-1 at 4:31 in the second. The rest of the period was quiet, so the Flyers would carry the two goal lead into the third, hoping to hold on and advance to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Almost seven minutes into the final frame, and the Gionta-Gomez pair was at it again. Gionta would drop for P.K. Subban along the near boards. James van Riemsdyk would be draped over Subban as he spun to center the puck. He would find Scott Gomez, and Gomez would beat Leighton far side to bring Montreal within one of the Flyers.
The rest of the period would pass until the 19:27 mark. The Flyers would win a face-off in their own zone. As the puck trickles to Jeff Carter, he would gain control and backhand to Mike Richards along the near boards. A race between Richards and Tomas Plekanec would ensue, as the empty net for Montreal sat at the other end of the ice. Richards would nudge Plekanec, who fell to the ice. Plekanec would take Richards with him. Richards would attempt to center the puck while on the ice, but Subban would tip the puck at the side of the net. Carter drives, and nabs the puck, sliding it past a downed Josh Gorges who was attempting to play goalie. The Flyers took a 4-2 lead with :22 remaining, and would hold on to win game five.
What Happens Next
The Flyers were Eastern Conference champions, and were heading to face the Chicago Blackhawks, fresh off a sweep of the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference Finals. The rest is something that we just aren’t going to get into, because it hurts. It hurts bad.
Mandatory Credit – © Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports