PHILADELPHIA -- The Montreal Canadiens' Cinderella run ended well before midnight Monday night.
The Philadelphia Flyers scored twice in a 1:25 span in the second period to snap a 1-1 tie and went on to beat the Canadiens, 4-2. That gave the Flyers a 4-1 edge in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference final and sends Philadelphia into the Stanley Cup final, where they'll face the Chicago Blackhawks beginning Saturday in the Windy City.
Philadelphia carried a 3-1 lead into the final stanza. The Canadiens made the final game interesting when Scott Gomez scored at 6:53 of the third period to cut the Flyers' lead to one goal. Gomez scored from the slot after taking a backhand from P.K. Subban from behind the goal-line.
"We battled to the end and we still thought we were going to win," said Gomez. "This is a business and obviously some of the guys aren't going to be here next season, but this organization took a big step toward getting that feel that we can go out and beat anyone. Nobody's satisfied."
Chris Pronger presented Montreal with a golden opportunity to tie the game when he took a double minor penalty for high-sticking Subban at 9:12 but the Canadiens were unable to generate a decent scoring attempt and the advantage was cut short when Glen Metropolit was called for tripping with 1:23 remaining in Pronger's penalty.
Jeff Carter scored his second goal of the game into an empty net.
The Canadiens let this game get away in the first period.
Brian Gionta opened the scoring with a goal at the 58-second mark when he connected with Gomez on a give-and-go play.
It was Montreal's first goal in three games at Wachovia Center, but the Canadiens missed some of opportunities to build on their lead.
Their own power play failed the Canadiens in the first period. They not only went 0-for-3 but the Flyers tied the score when Mike Richards scored on a bizarre play at 4:25. Jaroslav Halak wandered well out of his crease to corral a loose puck and collided with defenceman Roman Hamrlik. Richards suffered some collateral damage when he was knocked off his feet, but he recovered and put the puck into the empty net.
"I was just tried to get the puck and, unfortunately, it ended up going to the guy and he did what he's supposed to do and put in," said Halak.
The Canadiens managed only one shot with the extra man and Halak had to stop Braydon Coburn and Arron Asham on short-handed breakaways.
The power play was a major disappointment throughout the final series. The Canadiens went 0-for-6 Monday and finished the series 1-for-22.
The Canadiens had three power plays in the first period and not only didn't score but they gave up three scoring chances and a goal to the Flyers.
"It boils down in the end that the special teams that were so good in the first two series didn't get going when we needed it," said Gomez. "But give the Flyers credit for making the adjustments."
-- Canwest News Service
big buff plenty tough C4