Flyers eliminate the Habs
Flyers win series 4-1
No, Carey Price wasn't very good in this series, but neither were his teammates. The better team won it tonight, and given we're talking about the sixth seeded Flyers, a club that narrowly avoided a late-season meltdown to make the playoffs, that speaks volumes.
Still, it's worth noting that there was really little separating these teams in the regular season. Montreal may have won the Eastern Conference crown, but they finished with just nine more points and five more wins than the Flyers, who, in turn, had fewer wins than the Hurricanes.
They didn't even make the playoffs.
I'd said in the Boston series I thought Price was rattled, something that was pooh-poohed by the Habs faithful, but he finished this series with 15 goals allowed in four games, a 4.15 goals against average and a .856 save percentage.
This after allowing five goals in both the fifth and sixth games in the first-round series with Boston.
Outside of Patrick Roy, there's just not much of a track record of success from netminders as young as Price. In the modern era, post-Original Six, only 19 netminders have played in a postseason game at age 20 or younger, and only Roy has won more than six games. Eight finished with a goals against above 3.90, a group that puts Price in good company: Martin Brodeur, Grant Fuhr, Tom Barrasso, Don Beaupre, Roland Melanson and Bill Ranford all went onto great careers after early playoff disappointments.
I'm still expecting big things out of Price.
Give the Flyers credit though: What a turnaround they've put together. The amount of great young talent they've assembled is really starting to shine through in the play of guys like R.J. Umberger, Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Scottie Upshall and Braydon Coburn, a group all under 26 that played big minutes in this series.
Two of Philadelphia's top three minute-getters, Coburn and Richards, are also the team's youngest regulars, as both turned 23 before the playoffs began.
I said this earlier, but no one's going to be picking the Flyers to advance to the finals. Still, stranger thing have happened and Marty Biron has been lights out. This is a tough team playing as a group and one that hasn't lost any bodies so far in the postseason. They're well-coached with great special teams and good team speed.
More importantly, they beat the Penguins five times during the year.
UPDATE I might as well bring up the question everyone's asking: How does the Huet deal look now?