By Brian Cazeneuve, SI.com
If the Canadiens' comeback in Game 1 had the Flyers shaking their heads in disappointment, Flyers' goaltender Martin Biron had the Habs swinging their sticks in confoundment in Philadelphia's series tying 4-2 victory in Game 2. With the Flyers leading 3-1 in the final minute of the second period, Biron had already denied Tomas Plekanec on four prior shots, including a breakaway, when he turned back both defenseman Andrei Markov and Plekanec on the doorstep, leading the frustrated centerman to swat his stick at the air. At least that time his aim was true.
Biron, a Quebec native, simply outplayed his opposite number, Carey Price, whose moments of acceptable play have been overshadowed at times this post-season by lackluster decisions and a soft glove. The Flyers continued to aim for Price's soft spot, his glove hand that the Bruins exploited in extending Montreal to seven games in its opening-round seven-game series. In the first period, the Flyers beat Price twice over a glove he seems to have borrowed from Bill Buckner. First Umberger swept a harmless looking shot from a bad angle that ducked under Price's shoulder to give the Flyers a lead 5:53 into the game. Then Jeff Carter fired a why-not shot from wide of the right circle that squeezed between Price's left arm and the goalpost at 8:39.
Saku Koivu's power play goal late in the period, his first goal in the postseason since 2004, brought the Canadiens within one, but Danny Briere, a provincial native like Biron, connected at the doorstep in period two for the one tough goal Price allowed all night.
The third period showed the desperation of the Habs, who outshot the Flyers 36-23 for the game. The book on Biron is to make him move laterally, or simply don't allow him to set before making a cross-ice pass. It really worked only once on Saturday, with both teams a man down and Markov sneaking in again from the point. This time, Joffrey Lupul let Markov skate right past him for a quick conversion of Chris Higgins' pass from the right side to the edge of the left circle.
With 2:21 to play in regulation time, Price erred again, nonchalantly trying to snag a pop-up in front of his crease when Markov deflected Scotty Upshall's weak wrist shot into the air. Rather than skate out to grab the puck with assertion, Price waited for it to fall into his glove. Instead R.J. Umberger swatted both the puck and Price's glove, deflecting the puck into the crease, where he tapped the insurance goal into the net.
Price is a fine young goaltender. He led rookie netminders in just about everything this year (24 wins, a .920 save percentage, three shutouts, even two assists), and the franchise has a history of turning baby goalies into stars come playoff time. Ken Dryden and Patrick Roy were practically in diapers when they won their first Cups. But Price is looking like his raw, 20-year-old self pretty often in these playoffs and the book on him is shaped like a glove.
Don't expect Biron to play this well every night. And Montreal fans should take heart with the series shifting to Philadelphia. Figure this out: the Canadiens are 5-6 in home playoff games, including those at the old Forum, against the Flyers, but a robust 9-1 on the road, including games at the old Spectrum. Montreal's road record this season (25-12-4) tied Detroit for tops in the league. The Canadiens and Sharks were the only two playoff teams that played better on the road in 2007-08 than at home.