The Montreal Canadiens won the game they had to have in their Eastern Conference Finals series with the Philadelphia Flyers. The Canadiens were down 2-0 in the series, but avoided going down a daunting 3-0, with a chance to square the series in Game 4.
Behind an early first period goal by Mike Cammalleri, the Canadiens jumped out to an early lead and never looked back, winning 5-1.
Tom Pyatt and Dominic Moore both added a goal each to go along with an assist, as the Canadiens were finally effective on the offensive side of the ice against Michael Leighton.
“It’s a big deal for us, don’t get me wrong,” Cammalleri said in a post-game interview. “But for us, we like the way we play, and we thought the goals were going to come.”
The loss snaps a six-game win-streak for the Flyers, that goes back to their previous series against the Boston Bruins, after being down 3-0 in the series.
The Canadiens are the last seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, having defeat the top-seed Washington Capitals and then the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. They came into this series as a surprise, but quickly found themselves in an 0-2 hole.
“We are a much better team when our backs are against the wall,” Gionta said after the game. “We’ve dealt with it all year.”
The Flyers are the seventh seed in the playoffs, so this match up was the last that anyone had expected.
After winning the first two games of the series, Chris Pronger said that the Game 3 loss was a “wake up call.’
“I don’t think you want to forget it. I think you need to use it and feed off it,” Pronger remarked after the game. “They answered the bell, and now it’s our turn to get back at it in Game 4.”
Game 4 in the series will take place on Saturday in Montreal.
The Canadiens were able to adjust to Leighton in this game, scoring more goals on the goalie than had been scored throughout the entire post-season.
“I felt OK. I’m not going to dwell on them scoring that many goals,” Leighton said. “We didn’t think we were going to win this series 4-0 so we’re just going to regroup. They’re back in the series and the next game’s big for us.”
Philadelphia remains the betting favorite on Online Sportsbooks to come out of the Eastern Conference, and sport odds of 3/1 to win the 2010 Stanley Cup.