PHILADELPHIA -- In the 2010 NHL playoffs, Cinderella does not ride a coach, but a magic carpet.
Fueled by a tank full of momentum -- unleaded, high test -- the magical Philadelphia Flyers continued their fabulous tour of the Eastern Conference in Game 1 of the finals, making history on Friday in Boston with their historic comeback and then making the most of things against the flummoxed Montreal Canadiens 48 hours later.
After a pause to catch their breath in a middling first period, the Flyers were superb. They cashed two power play goals, scored another two a combined 19 seconds after the man-advantage expired, and wound up chasing the seemingly impenetrable
And not to rub it in or anything, but the ever-hospitable citizens of the City of Brotherly Love cheekily ganged up on the Canadiens a few minutes later when the orange-clad Wachovia Center crowd broke into a lusty chorus of the
If the Canadiens had brought their meal money to the arena, the Flyers probably would have appropriated that, as well.
The final score, 6-0, actually flattered the Canadiens, who played like the 19th best team in the NHL, which, of course, they were during the regular season. That was before they began their own fairytale spring with improbable seven-game wins over top-seeded Washington and defending champion Pittsburgh. (Philadelphia, incidentally, was the 18th best team, making them the slight favorite in this Cinderella Bowl.)
The Canadiens struggled to get shots through to the net, were unable to establish any meaningful forecheck or cycle game despite outshooting the Flyers. They blocked only four more shots than the attentive Philadelphia defenders, lost key defensive faceoffs and couldn't sneak the odd deflection past goalie
In a post-match press conference, Leighton noted that he had an easier time seeing the puck against Montreal than he did against Boston because the smaller Canadiens forwards were easier to peek around than the Brobdingnagian Bruins. True enough. But this was not a case of size as much as attitude, what
"This is a brand new series, but what happened (against Boston) gave us a little boost," Flyers rookie James
"We have to put the last series behind us," said Philadelphia grinder
Montreal can simply give the blowout the old Gallic shrug and move on to Game 2 on Tuesday, hoping the Flyers return to Planet Earth after rallying from three games down and then three goals down in Game 7 against the Bruins. After all, the Canadiens were thoroughly schooled in Pittsburgh in the opener of the second-round series when Halak was chased for a second time in the playoffs. But there were some glaring trouble spots in this game, beyond a flat performance by their money goaltender, which should give the Canadiens pause before scheduling a Stanley Cup parade for June.
There might have been a dollop of rust on the Montreal bandwagon, mildly understandable considering the Canadiens hadn't played since Wednesday, but some of the rust looked suspiciously like corrosion. Philadelphia is a different sort of opponent, more edgy than the titans that Montreal previously upset. And while the Flyers didn't physically run Montreal screaming into the streets of South Philly, their trademark robust style, personified by defenseman
And if the clock didn't exactly strike midnight on Montreal revelation
On the Flyers' opening power-play goal, Subban committed early, laying out to block a shot even though
After the Flyers scored twice in the first five minutes of the second period, the rest pretty much was bookkeeping.
"We're confident," said
Then Betts unlaced his glass slippers and vanished into a warm spring night.