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Eastern Conference Finals- A Closer Look

Posted By Daniel Maloney On May 18 2010 @ 5:34 pm In Montreal Canadiens | 6 Comments

Game 1 Review

Much has been made of the Philadelphia Flyer’s 6-0 rout of the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday.

An impressive display by the Flyers, no doubt.

The Flyers, coming off their historic series victory, didn’t miss a beat in game one. Six different players scored for the Flyers, who showed no signs of fatigue after a grueling series with the Bruins.

They were able to do what the Capitals and Penguins could not do on a consistent basis against the Habs-get traffic in front of Jaroslav Halak, and move the puck easily through the neutral zone.

At the other end, while the Canadiens outshot the FLyers, they were unable to sustain pressure in the offensive zone with any regularity. The bleu, blanc et rouge were also given a taste of their own medicine, as playoff scoring leader Mike Cammalleri was shut down by Pronger and Co., not totally unlike Montreal’s defence corps did to Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

While Jaroslav Halak is the clear MVP through two rounds of the playoffs, Micheal Leighton is quietly putting together his own impressive story. Leighton picked up his second shutout in four games since replacing the injured Brian Boucher.

Philadelphia clicked on all cylinders. In short, a perfect game.

The Flyers will need to play precisely this style for the remainder of the series to be successful.

The Flyers fortunes may continue to rise, as injured 33-goal-scorer Jeff Carter and gritty forward Ian Laperriere are close to returning.

Game 2 preview:Much ado about nothing

Was game one a measuring stick, a sign of things to come in this series?

Highly unlikely.

This will probably be a long, hard-fought series

Reports of the Montreal Canadiens’ imminent demise are, in all likelihood, greatly exaggerated.

Much of the difficulty understanding the Canadiens’ success this post-season stems from a lack of understanding of their system.

Without getting too deep into that, Bob Gainey and the Canadiens’ had a specific system in mind before the free agency period, and were able to find the proper players to implement it.This playoff run is not a fluke, nor is it a surprise to the Montreal front office.

The system is reactionary, and in every new series, it usually takes the Canadiens a game or two before they can make the needed adjustments to be successful.

As a partial result, the Flyers had an easy time in game 1, as the Canadiens were still in the “feeling out” process, and unable to disrupt the Flyers on any level.

We saw much the same result from the Canadiens in game 1 of the conference semi-final.

With Jaroslav Halak’s tendency to bounce back after a sub-par performance, I expect the Slovakian netminder to be in top form tonight.

Also, look for the Canadiens to pick up the tempo in game two, and not sit back as much as they did in the opening game.

The key to tonight’s contest, and the entire series, will likely be the battle directly in front of Jaroslav Halak.

If the Flyers are able to get as much traffic in front of Halak tonight as they did in the opener, I like their chances.

Judging by how the Canadiens have been able to make the needed adjustments in previous series, and how they get stronger as each series moves along, I’m picking the Canadiens tonight, and I believe they’ll be heading back to the Stanley Cup final for the first time in seventeen years.

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