for this game

Biron superb as Flyers even East semifinals

Apr 27, 2008 - 4:30 AM
MONTREAL (Ticker) -- Behind the stellar play of Martin Biron, the Philadelphia Flyers erased the memories of a heartbreaking loss.

Biron made 34 saves and R.J. Umberger scored two goals as the sixth-seeded Flyers evened their Eastern Conference semifinal series with the top-seeded Montreal Canadiens at one game apiece with a 4-2 triumph in Game Two on Saturday.

"I'll take 36 shots if we win every game," Biron said. "A lot of their shots came on the power play. They like to come on the attack."

Jeff Carter and Daniel Briere also tallied for the Flyers, who grabbed home-ice advantage in the series. Philadelphia, which suffered a disappointing overtime defeat in the opener, hosts Game Three on Monday.

"You play a game like the last game and you're up 3-2 with 30 seconds left and you lose it in overtime. Tonight was a much different game," Biron said. "To their credit, they came hard, but tonight we had that desperation like we did in Game Seven against Washington and Game Two of (that) series, where we played some of our best hockey. Not that we played our best hockey tonight, but we got enough to get the win."

"I never want to talk in terms of the whole series because if you ever get down 2-0, it doesn't mean you can't come back," Flyers coach John Stevens said. "But this (win) certainly makes the cause a lot better. We came here looking to split, but the first game, when you lose it like that when you had the lead,... I loved the response of our team. We were able to get the lead, battle back and get a win on the road."

Captain Saku Koivu and defenseman Andrei Markov netted goals for the Canadiens, who have an all-time record of 9-1 in road playoff games against the Flyers.

"We've had some success in their building," Koivu understated. "It's going to be a tough one. Just watching the first round when they played Washington, there's great atmosphere there, and they're playing well right now, so we're not expecting anything easy."

"Everybody is frustrated a little bit, but when we look at the tape (on Sunday), we'll see some really good things," Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau said. "And those are the things we have to stay on - to create a lot of scoring chances and we were able to use our speed."

Koivu, who admitted the Canadiens were fortunate to escape with a victory in Game One, believed they played much better in this one.

"That's sometimes the way the playoffs go," he said. "I don't feel we played a good game in the first one, but we got the win. Then tonight, especially in the second half, we put a lot of pressure on them and created all kinds of chances, but their goaltender played well and they got the win."

Biron, who often was Philadelphia's best player during its seven-game triumph over Washington in the conference quarterfinals, unquestionably stood above the rest in this one, turning aside 28 of the 29 shots he faced over the first two periods.

"A couple of bounces went against me the other night, maybe because I didn't control the rebounds the way I wanted to," Biron said. "But tonight, a couple of bounces went my way, and that made the difference."

"Marty played well for us," Carter said. "He's there to stop the big shots."

Many of Saturday's saves in the first 40 minutes were of the sensational variety. The 30-year-old Biron denied Christopher Higgins' shot from the left hash marks during a power play with five minutes to go in the first period, then made a similar stop on a wide-open Alexei Kovalev in the slot with just over 4 1/2 minutes gone by in the second.

"I thought he played extremely well in Game One, also," Briere said. "What he's going through with his wife (recently) giving birth, I'm sure it's pretty hectic at home for him. He comes to the rink and he's so focused. He gets on the ice and forgets about that and is completely focused on the game. It's pretty amazing."

With 5:16 remaining in the period, Biron made a brilliant glove save on a backhander by Tomas Plekanec, who intercepted a cross-ice pass by Flyers defenseman Derian Hatcher at the Canadiens' blue line and raced in on a breakaway.

"I felt confident, but the puck didn't go in," Plekanec said. "I tried to hit the puck, but I didn't hit it 100 percent, and he had the puck by then. Life goes on."

"He played well," Montreal rookie goaltender Carey Price said of his counterpart. "He made a couple of big stops for them, we missed a couple of open nets and that equals a win for them. Maybe next game, we bury one right in the middle of the net instead of right in the middle of the glove."

In the final minute of the session, the netminder knocked away Markov's point-blank shot during a power play before thwarting Plekanec's attempt on the rebound.

"The last five minutes of the second period, they came out hard, shooting from everywhere," Biron said. "That power play they got, they moved the puck extremely well. On that one (by Plekanec), I put my glove out and it hit the webbing and didn't come out."

"Sometimes you forget that the goalie is a member of your team, and sometimes you need him to be the best player," Stevens said. "Biron is certainly a player on our team that we count on, and he's raised the bar to a level of play from Marty that we were starting to expect."

Umberger gave Biron a 1-0 lead with which to work less than six minutes into the contest. From the right faceoff circle, the native of Pittsburgh fired a wrist shot over the left shoulder of Price at 5:53 for his third goal of the postseason.

"I didn't (see the puck)," said Price, who was screened on the play by Koivu. "I tried to get my shoulder on it at the last second, but I couldn't see it."

Carter doubled the advantage less than three minutes later with a similar tally, again putting a wrister from the right circle over Price's left shoulder during a power play at 8:39.

"You have to give them credit - the first two goals were really good shots," Carbonneau said. "Would (Price) like to get them back? I'm sure he would."

Carter's goal gave the Flyers a dreaded two-goal lead, something they have watched turn into a loss three previous times this postseason - including Game One of this series. Later in the first, it appeared a fourth wasted bulge could be on the way.

Immediately following Biron's big save on Higgins, Flyers blue-liner Braydon Coburn received a roughing penalty, giving the Canadiens a 5-on-3 power play for 68 seconds. Philadelphia managed to successfully kill the two-man advantage, but Koivu grabbed a loose puck behind the net and stuffed it inside the right goalpost with 3:42 remaining for a power-play goal - his first tally of this postseason.

"They turned the heat up," Umberger said. "You have to give them credit because if it goes 3-0, then they're out of the game. On our side, we have to do better, make smarter plays. We caught ourselves cheating too much."

Briere, who lost the league lead in goals to Detroit's Johan Franzen earlier in the day, regained a share when he gave Philadelphia a 3-1 lead in the middle period.

Carrying the puck down the right wing, Briere cut across the low slot and slid a backhander that completely crossed the goal line before hitting Price's right skate and caroming out with 6:25 to go. Following a brief review, Briere was credited with his seventh playoff goal.

Montreal again closed within one just 86 seconds into the third, when Higgins made a pass from the bottom of the right circle to a pinching Markov, who beat Biron from alone on the doorstep for his first tally of the postseason.

"We don't make it easy on ourselves," Carter said. "It's always interesting on this team."

But the Flyers managed to withstand the Canadiens' surge for the equalizer, and Umberger netted an insurance goal with 2:21 left to cap his multi-goal performance.

Price snagged Umberger's shot with his glove and dropped the puck in front for Markov, who proceeded to turn it over to Scottie Upshall. From the bottom of the left circle, Upshall attempted a shot that popped into the air.

As Price tried to glove it, Umberger whacked the goalie's hand, causing the puck to drop to the ice. The 25-year-old center then got off a backhander that hit the right post, caromed off Price's left skate and entered the net for a 4-2 advantage.

"It's much easier to play with a two-goal cushion in the last couple of minutes of the game," Umberger said. "I was just crashing the net and it went in, so I'll take it."

Price finished with 19 saves for the Canadiens, who outshot the Flyers by a 16-7 margin in the first period and 36-23 overall.








  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PHILADELPHIA 2 1 1 4
    MONTREAL 1 0 1 2 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PHI - R.J. UMBERGER 3 (JIM DOWD, JASON SMITH) 5:53
    PHI - (PP) JEFF CARTER 4 (JOFFREY LUPUL, KIMMO TIMONEN) 8:39
    MON - (PP) SAKU KOIVU 1 (ALEXEI KOVALEV, MARK STREIT) 16:18
    2ND PRD: PHI - DANIEL BRIERE 7 (VA

    Apr 26 9:45 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PHILADELPHIA 4
    MONTREAL 2
    3RD PRD: PHI - R.J. UMBERGER 4 (SCOTTIE UPSHALL) 17:39

    Flyers 4, Canadiens 2  3rd - 2:21Apr 26 9:40 PM
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    Flyers 4, Canadiens 2  3rd - 2:21Apr 26 9:40 PM
  • 30
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    Flyers 3, Canadiens 2  3rd - 2:30Apr 26 9:36 PM
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    Flyers 3, Canadiens 2  3rd - 7:00Apr 26 9:26 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PHILADELPHIA 3
    MONTREAL 2
    3RD PRD: MON - ANDREI MARKOV 1 (CHRIS HIGGINS, SAKU KOIVU) 1:26

    Flyers 3, Canadiens 2  3rd - 18:34Apr 26 9:11 PM
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    FunkmasterJ Added 5 roots

    Flyers 3, Canadiens 1  End of 2ndApr 26 8:59 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PHILADELPHIA 2 1 3
    MONTREAL 1 0 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PHI - R.J. UMBERGER 3 (JIM DOWD, JASON SMITH) 5:53
    PHI - (PP) JEFF CARTER 4 (JOFFREY LUPUL, KIMMO TIMONEN) 8:39
    MON - (PP) SAKU KOIVU 1 (ALEXEI KOVALEV, MARK STREIT) 16:18
    2ND PRD: PHI - DANIEL

    Apr 26 8:51 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PHILADELPHIA 3
    MONTREAL 1
    2ND PRD: PHI - DANIEL BRIERE 7 (UNASSISTED) 13:35

    Flyers 3, Canadiens 1  2nd - 6:25Apr 26 8:35 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PHILADELPHIA 2 2
    MONTREAL 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PHI - R.J. UMBERGER 3 (JIM DOWD, JASON SMITH) 5:53
    PHI - (PP) JEFF CARTER 4 (JOFFREY LUPUL, KIMMO TIMONEN) 8:39
    MON - (PP) SAKU KOIVU 1 (ALEXEI KOVALEV, MARK STREIT) 16:18
    SHOTS ON GOAL:

    Apr 26 7:51 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PHILADELPHIA 2
    MONTREAL 1
    1ST PRD: MON - (PP) SAKU KOIVU 1 (ALEXEI KOVALEV, MARK STREIT) 16:18

    Flyers 2, Canadiens 1  1st - 3:42Apr 26 7:44 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PHILADELPHIA 2
    MONTREAL 0
    1ST PRD: PHI - (PP) JEFF CARTER 4 (JOFFREY LUPUL, KIMMO TIMONEN) 8:39

    Flyers 2, Canadiens 0  1st - 11:21Apr 26 7:29 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PHILADELPHIA 1
    MONTREAL 0
    1ST PRD: PHI - R.J. UMBERGER 3 (JIM DOWD, JASON SMITH) 5:53

    Flyers 1, Canadiens 0  1st - 14:07Apr 26 7:22 PM
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    Flyers vs. CanadiensApr 26 5:55 PM