for this game

Upshall's goal leads Flyers into conference finals

May 4, 2008 - 5:25 AM
MONTREAL (Ticker) -- The Philadelphia Flyers learned their lesson. Coach Guy Carbonneau obviously did not learn his, and the Montreal Canadiens' season ended as a result.

Scottie Upshall snapped a tie with 3:04 remaining in the third period as the sixth-seeded Flyers eliminated the top-seeded Canadiens with a 6-4 victory Saturday in Game Five of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Celebrating his 26th birthday, R.J. Umberger scored two goals and set up another and Mike Richards added a tally and an assist for Philadelphia, which advanced to the conference finals for the second time in four seasons.

"That's probably the best present I've had so far in my life - the win with the effort our team had," Umberger said.

Scott Hartnell and Mike Knuble also netted goals and Martin Biron made 31 saves for the Flyers, who await the winner of the semifinal series between the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers.

"It's pretty rewarding for us to see our players be that excited, to see everyone in our organization moving on against a team like Montreal," Flyers coach John Stevens said. "What a great team and a great year."

"It's really special," Philadelphia's Daniel Briere said of defeating Montreal. "I grew up a Montreal Canadiens fan, so it's even sweeter. I always wanted to experience a playoff series against Montreal, and to win on top of that, that's just icing on the cake."

Tomas Plekanec, Alexei Kovalev, Christopher Higgins and Andrei Kostitsyn tallied for Montreal, which lost four straight after winning Game One in overtime. The Canadiens did not endure a losing streak of more than three games during the regular season.

"You have to give a lot of credit to the other team," Montreal captain Saku Koivu said. "They did a lot of things right. ... They found a way to win games."

Needing overtime in Game Seven of the conference quarterfinals to dispatch the Washington Capitals after building a three-games-to-one lead, the Flyers did not allow this 3-1 series advantage slip away. However, Carbonneau's decision to go back to rookie goaltender Carey Price in Game Five proved to help Philadelphia's cause immensely.

"We talked about it continuously, how hard it is to get that fourth win," Umberger said. "(The Canadiens are) a team if they win tonight and get rolling, then they'll be right back into it. We wanted to have that killer instinct and shut them down."

After allowing numerous soft goals over the first three games, Price was relegated to the bench in Game Four in favor of fellow rookie Jaroslav Halak, who played well but endured a 4-2 loss. Instead of staying with the Czech, Carbonneau again called upon Price with his club facing elimination.

"He played so well for us all season long, including the playoffs," Higgins said. "He might want a couple of pucks (back) in the last couple of games, but we wouldn't be here without him. He's a huge reason why we're in the playoffs and finished first overall (in the East) and why we beat Boston in the first series."

The decision appeared to be the right one early as the 20-year-old Price made several strong saves in the first period, including a left pad stop on Richards during a shorthanded breakaway just 3 1/2 minutes into the game.

However, after Higgins gave the Canadiens a 3-1 lead at 8:15 of the second period, the Flyers got to Price for three goals in a 2:58 span later in the session to surge ahead.

"We were down a little bit there in the second," Umberger said. "The three quick goals really boosted our team and provided our energy."

"We did what we had to do early," Carbonneau said. "We crashed the net and put traffic in front of Biron. We had the lead, 3-1, and then everything fell."

Richards began the flurry at 14:02 with his fourth of the postseason.

From along the left wing boards near the point, Umberger fired a high shot toward the net. Moving toward the front of the net from the corner, Richards waved at the puck with his left hand, and it sailed over the right shoulder of Price.

Following a lengthy review, it was determined the puck deflected off Richards' shoulder and into the net, drawing Philadelphia within 3-2.

"We were playing well up to that point," Higgins said. "We had a 3-1 lead and feeling very good, and then we kind of got away from the things that made us successful early on in the game."

Just 1:42 later, Umberger beat defenseman Roman Hamrlik to a loose puck behind the net, came out on the right side and fired it past Price - who was hugging the right goalpost - for his second goal of the night, ninth of the playoffs and eighth of the series.

"He's been amazing," Briere said. "He's in his comfort zone right now. The one thing he does extremely well is, he knows right now things that are working for him and the puck seems to have eyes for him. He's trying to throw everything at the net, and he's getting rewarded for it. When you're in the zone, you keep throwing pucks and they seem to find the back of the net."

"(He) was a possessed man," Stevens added. "We moved him around (from position to position) and he didn't even bat an eye. He just wanted to play. He's just been a force."

Still reeling, Price allowed Hartnell to beat him with a slap shot from above the right faceoff circle with exactly three minutes to go in the period, giving the Flyers a 4-3 edge.

"I think the fourth one really hurt us," Carbonneau said. "But we've played five games against them and they took advantage of all their breaks. I can't say that they scored some really nice goals. Every goal, something happened on it."

"I gave up that third goal and I wasn't too happy about that," Biron said. "But right after that, I think the rest of the team picked it up and did what they had to do to re-energize our team and myself. When we were able to go into the locker room after two with the lead, we were really positive about how this game was going to go."

Instead of accepting the blame, Price proclaimed Philadelphia's goals basically were of the lucky variety.

"They find a hole here and there and we don't, and we're going home," he said.

Carbonneau also believed the Flyers were fortunate and gave some of the blame for the goals not to Price, but to team defense.

"This is probably the worst game we played defensively," he said. "The other four games, we limited (the Flyers) to maybe 20 shots a game, so we must have done something well in our zone. But every time they shot the puck at the net, it hit something or went into a hole that wasn't too big. They got the breaks, and they took advantage of them."

Carbonneau continued to show his faith in his young netminder, electing to stick with him in the third period. Price's teammates rallied around him, drawing even just 2:13 into the session, when Kostitsyn beat Biron high to the glove side with a wrister from the top of the slot.

Price made another big save with 8:19 remaining, sticking out his left pad to deny Briere's shot on a breakaway. But after Guillaume Latendresse hit the right post with 4:25 left, the Flyers grabbed a 5-4 lead.

"I thought right after that (save), we might get them," Price said. "We hit a post and they took one in."

Jeff Carter, who recorded two assists, chased down a loose puck above the slot and fired it toward the net. Standing to the left of the crease, Upshall deflected the puck out of the air and past Price for his third goal of the playoffs.

"There's times in the game when you find yourself in front of the net," Upshall said. "I thought Carter made a great move, spinning around and throwing a great shot on net. I saw it coming, and fortunately, I had my stick at the crossbar and I got it in there. It was actually a pretty hard shot, not too high, so I thought getting the stick on it was a pretty good play.

"This is up there with my best goals. To be winning and going to the Eastern Conference championship, but to be part of it and chip in with a big goal, it's a great feeling."

Still over three minutes away from victory, Philadelphia allowed just two shots on Biron before Knuble clinched the win with an empty-netter with 50 seconds remaining.

"It seems that we thrive on adversity, and once again, we came through," Briere said.

Price finished with 31 saves.

Montreal opened the scoring for the first time in the series just 4:29 into the contest.

From above the right circle, defenseman Patrice Brisebois unleashed a slap shot that was deflected past Biron by Plekanec from the doorstep during a power play. It was the Czech's fourth of the playoffs and extended his goal-scoring streak to three games.

Umberger knotted the contest midway through the first.

Carrying the puck down the left wing on a 2-on-1 rush, Umberger cut into the low slot and let go a shot that was stopped. While on the ice, the Pittsburgh native swatted the rebound past Price at 10:20.

With the tally, Umberger stretched his goal-scoring run to five games.

"I don't know, the right place at the right time," Umberger said of his streak. "I don't really have an answer for it. I just have to enjoy it."

But the Canadiens quickly regained the lead as Kovalev netted his 42nd career postseason goal just 68 seconds later.

From behind the net, Maxim Lapierre skated out near the left post and fired the puck into the crease. It caromed off the right skate of Kovalev and past Biron with 8:32 left in the first, giving Montreal a 2-1 edge.

Higgins doubled the advantage less than 8 1/2 minutes into the second, when his wrister from the left faceoff dot sailed just inside the right post.

"You never want to go down by two goals," Briere said. "It was a bit different because we hadn't been down in the series against Montreal yet and we weren't sure how they would react. Would they sit back and wait for us or keep coming at us?"

Philadelphia had a golden opportunity to get back a goal shortly thereafter but was unable to register a shot on goal during a 5-on-3 power play that lasted 55 seconds.






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    Flyers 6, Canadiens 4  FinalMay 3 11:20 PM
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    Flyers 6, Canadiens 4  FinalMay 3 11:20 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PHILADELPHIA 1 3 2 6
    MONTREAL 2 1 1 4 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: MON - (PP) TOMAS PLEKANEC 4 (PATRICE BRISEBOIS, ANDREI
    KOSTITSYN) 4:29
    PHI - R.J. UMBERGER 8 (JASON SMITH) 10:20
    MON - ALEXEI KOVALEV 5 (MAXIM LAPIERRE, MIKE KOMISAREK)
    11:28
    2ND PRD: MON - CHRIS HIGGINS

    May 3 9:47 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PHILADELPHIA 6
    MONTREAL 4
    3RD PRD: PHI - (EN) MIKE KNUBLE 3 (JEFF CARTER) 19:10

    Flyers 6, Canadiens 4  3rd - 0:50May 3 9:45 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PHILADELPHIA 5
    MONTREAL 4
    3RD PRD: PHI - SCOTTIE UPSHALL 3 (JEFF CARTER, LASSE KUKKONEN) 16:56

    Flyers 5, Canadiens 4  3rd - 3:04May 3 9:42 PM
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    Flyers 4, Canadiens 4  3rd - 4:24May 3 9:35 PM
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    Flyers 4, Canadiens 4  3rd - 11:55May 3 9:22 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PHILADELPHIA 4
    MONTREAL 4
    3RD PRD: MON - ANDREI KOSTITSYN 5 (TOMAS PLEKANEC, ALEXEI KOVALEV)
    2:13

    Flyers 4, Canadiens 4  3rd - 17:47May 3 9:15 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PHILADELPHIA 1 3 4
    MONTREAL 2 1 3 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: MON - (PP) TOMAS PLEKANEC 4 (PATRICE BRISEBOIS, ANDREI
    KOSTITSYN) 4:29
    PHI - R.J. UMBERGER 8 (JASON SMITH) 10:20
    MON - ALEXEI KOVALEV 5 (MAXIM LAPIERRE, MIKE KOMISAREK)
    11:28
    2ND PRD: MON - C

    May 3 8:54 PM
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    Flyers 3, Canadiens 3  2nd - 4:16May 3 8:49 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PHILADELPHIA 4
    MONTREAL 3
    2ND PRD: PHI - SCOTT HARTNELL 3 (KIMMO TIMONEN) 17:00

    Flyers 4, Canadiens 3  2nd - 3:00May 3 8:49 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PHILADELPHIA 3
    MONTREAL 3
    2ND PRD: PHI - R.J. UMBERGER 9 (DERIAN HATCHER, MIKE RICHARDS) 15:44

    Flyers 3, Canadiens 3  2nd - 4:16May 3 8:45 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PHILADELPHIA 2
    MONTREAL 3
    2ND PRD: PHI - MIKE RICHARDS 4 (R.J. UMBERGER) 14:02

    Flyers 2, Canadiens 3  2nd - 5:58May 3 8:40 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PHILADELPHIA 1
    MONTREAL 3
    2ND PRD: MON - CHRIS HIGGINS 3 (SAKU KOIVU, JOSH GORGES) 8:15

    Flyers 1, Canadiens 3  2nd - 11:45May 3 8:24 PM
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    Flyers 1, Canadiens 2  2nd - 17:20May 3 8:12 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PHILADELPHIA 1 1
    MONTREAL 2 2 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: MON - (PP) TOMAS PLEKANEC 4 (PATRICE BRISEBOIS, ANDREI
    KOSTITSYN) 4:29
    PHI - R.J. UMBERGER 8 (JASON SMITH) 10:20
    MON - ALEXEI KOVALEV 5 (MAXIM LAPIERRE, MIKE KOMISAREK)
    11:28
    SHOTS ON GOAL:

    May 3 7:52 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PHILADELPHIA 1
    MONTREAL 2
    1ST PRD: MON - ALEXEI KOVALEV 5 (MAXIM LAPIERRE, MIKE KOMISAREK) 11:28

    Flyers 1, Canadiens 2  1st - 8:32May 3 7:37 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PHILADELPHIA 1
    MONTREAL 1
    1ST PRD: PHI - R.J. UMBERGER 8 (JASON SMITH) 10:20

    Flyers 1, Canadiens 1  1st - 9:40May 3 7:35 PM
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    Flyers 0, Canadiens 1  1st - 12:00May 3 7:31 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PHILADELPHIA 0
    MONTREAL 1
    1ST PRD: MON - (PP) PATRICE BRISEBOIS 2 (ANDREI KOSTITSYN) 4:21

    Flyers 0, Canadiens 1  1st - 15:39May 3 7:22 PM
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