Good goaltending helps Flyers hang on
By Dan Gelston
PHILADELPHIA ó Derian Hatcher was like all the other Flyers fans who watched the last 15 minutes on TV. He did it in the locker room, feeling sick, stressed and helpless as the lead nearly slipped away.
Unlike the other orange-clad diehards, Hatcher could have prevented the frayed nerves Monday night.
When Philadelphia held on for the victory, Hatcher could thank Martin Biron that the defensemanís late ejection didnít cost them the series lead.
Biron stopped 32 shots and the Flyers scored three goals in the second period to beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-2, taking a 2-1 lead in their second-round series.
iMarty has been terrific. Heís been our best player in this series,î coach John Stevens said. iWe probably felt going in that he would have to be.î
Biron lost his shutout ó and the Flyers nearly wasted a three-goal lead ó when Hatcher was ejected in the third period and Montreal capitalized on the lengthy power play.
Hatcher drove his right arm into the center of defenseman Francis Bouillonís back and slammed him into the glass. Bouillon, who wears a visor, was cut near the corner of his right eye.
Hatcher was whistled for 5 minutes for boarding and a game misconduct, ending his night. That was all the opportunity Montreal needed to make its first serious run at Biron. It was nearly enough to tie the score.
iYour first reaction is you just hope the team can get through it,î Hatcher said.
Tomas Plekanec quickly scored a power-play goal off a scrum in front of the net to make it 3-1. The goal was reviewed, but the replay showed the puck was over the line before the net became dislodged.
Saku Koivu was stopped on a breakaway by Bironís poke check in the first period, but he scored on the power play in the third to pull Montreal to 3-2.
iIt got a little scary on the power play,î Biron said.
Hatcher felt awful.
iWatching the last 15 minutes was a lot more draining than actually playing the game,î Hatcher said. iI feel mentally exhausted right now.î
The Flyers killed the rest of the penalty and Biron quickly reverted to the form of the first two periods, when he stopped shots in all kinds of ways. He made 17 of his saves in the third period while the Flyers took a measly two shots on goal.
No wonder he was serenaded again from the stands: iMar-ty! iMar-ty!î iMar-ty!î
Thatís a sound the Flyers want to hear all the way to the Stanley Cup.
iItís fun when they chant your name,î Biron said. iThey challenge the guys to play better.î
The Canadiens outshot Philadelphia 34-12.
iIt seems that weíre being tested right now,î Koivu said. iI donít think we played as well tonight as we did in the second game, but still we were able to put a lot of pucks on net and create a lot of chances. Thatís a positive thing, but at the same time when you outshoot your opponent, youíre hoping to get the win.î
Mike Richards, R.J. Umberger and Scottie Upshall all scored goals on the first six shots of the second against 20-year-old Carey Price.
Shane Davis has enjoyed drawing for as long as he can remember. He used to get in trouble in school... read more