Game Two a "Must Win" for Habs
One of the reasons for the Canadiens success this spring, apart from Jaroslav Halak's stinginess and Mike Cammalleri's scoring exploits has been the team's unwillingness to play dead in the face of adversity.
Down 3 game to 1 in the Capitals series?
Pounded 6-3 in the opening game against the (then) Stanley Cup holders?
Handed what constitutes a humiliation on Flyer ice in Game One, the length of this series may well depend on the Canadiens' reaction in the followup.
The reality at present is that so many thing wents wrong in the 6-0 defeat, that pinpointing one simple matter for correction would be obtuse.
For the Habs, the series opener seemed to be an adventure, the sort that is usually best played out in a Chevy Chase "Vacation" movie. You name it - it went badly.
The stoic defensive structuring was goners, vanished from sight. The Canadiens seemed to be out of place, blocking the shots that didn't require such attention, leaving the honey hole in front of Halak free for the Flyers to fish from.
The blueliners were surely scrambling, as the forwards were failing to return deep. That in itself also crippled the Canadiens, transition game of short breakout passes.
It is misleading to point to the Canadiens outshooting the Flyers in the opener, as mere shots on net are never an accurate gauge of scoring chances. Montreal did not create scoring chances because they were not moving their legs.
But the Canadiens are a resilient bunch this playoff. When confronted with obstacles and shortcoming, they have more often than not made the proper corrections and returned to and reigned in the system of team play. Testament to their success is in not having lost back to back games more than once this spring.
In trying to figure another explanation for Monday's debacle, it could that the Canadiens were showing just a tad too much respect for a Flyer team that had just pulled off the greatest series comeback in 35 seasons. Perhaps a little too in awe of their new rivals, it looked as though the Habs pulled up a front row to watch this phenom go by. Now that the fascination has sunk in, the lingering emotions from Monday's humiliation are sure to take over.
The mantra will again be to put aside the various assets the Flyers own, treat every threat as one, and play the shackle brand that put them though as underdogs biting the ankles of giants.
Montreal has to tighten it up their own end, frustrating the Flyers just as they did the Capitals and Penguins.
The Canadiens need to get back to the unpretty methods that have worked for them in the past month, otherwise the dream season could be over swiftly.