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NHL: Philadelphia to test Montreal's mettle again

Written by:
Payton
Published on:
May/24/2010
The Flyers are -190 home favorites

The Flyers are -190 home favorites to do so according to Sportsbook.com for their potentially series clinching game against the visiting Canadiens.

"With each series, it obviously gets harder and harder, but I don't think you can look past that next game and that next win," Philadelphia defenseman Chris Pronger said. "You've got to focus on closing out a team and being closers. We've got a team now down 3-1. We've got to get that fourth win.

"We've got to understand what it's going to take, because they're obviously a team that's had their backs against the wall throughout the course of this playoff, through Washington and Pittsburgh, and they've been able to rally and come back. We obviously want to stymie that and make sure we're putting our foot on the throat."

The Flyers have won 21 of their last 28 home games and can advance to the Cups Finals for the first time in 13 years with a fourth and deciding victory over the Canadiens. Philadelphia is well aware the danger Montreal presents, having seen them come from behind against the Capitals and Penguins to win series and their 5-0 record in elimination games.

"We have to be careful," Flyers forward Danny Briere said. "If there's a team that would know that, it's us, with what we were able to do in the previous round to the Bruins, and also what Montreal did to Washington and Pittsburgh. We're definitely not going to take them for granted. There's still one big win.

"We always say the fourth one or the last one is always the toughest to get against a team. We expect them to come out with a lot of desperation in Game 5, but at the same time, yes, we know we're getting closer." The Flyers know a thing or two about desperation, having trailed 3-0 to Boston before winning the next four.

Philadelphia has now won seven of last eight and shutout Montreal three times in the series with domineering defense and the fine goaltending of Michael Leighton, who only had to face 17 shots in last contest (one in the second period).

"One of our main goals was to play better defensively and I don't know how many times they came down the wing trying to fire pucks at me, and we had our 'D' men who stuck their stick out and it went up in the crowds," Leighton said. "We talked right before the game and said we want to block as many shots and stop them charging the net and we did. We definitely showed up to play."

For the Habs, the situation certainly appears bleak, but it is far from over as far as they are concerned, with their 9-4 record off a home loss by three or more goals. "We put ourselves in this hole and it is what it is. We've got to go and win a game," Montreal defenseman Hal Gill said.

Sportsbook.com has Philly as a -190 money line favorite with the ‘total' at 5. They are 20-7 as home ice favorites. They will arrive at Game Five 10-4 UNDER in home games after a win by two goals or more this season. Montreal will try and manufacture one more miracle and is 11-5 after being defeated by three or more goals and is 10-3 UNDER on the road after scoring one goal or less this campaign.

The East Final has a 7:00 Eastern start on VERSUS and CBC and if Philadelphia does emerge victorious, one person who deserves a lot of credit is Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette.

It took him until the last few weeks of the regular season to convince this team how good it can be and he never let them get down on themselves in the Bruins series. After tonight, Philadelphia might be thinking about bringing home first Stanley Cup title since 1975.

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