The Philadelphia Flyers took their place in professional sports history last night when they overcame a 0-3 series deficit to come back and defeat the Boston Bruins in the two teams best-of-seven Eastern Conference Semifinals series. It was an incredibly hardfought and gutsy win from the Flyers, who somehow overcame all obstacles to earn a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second time in three years. Their opponent? The equally destined Montreal Canadiens, who have beaten top seeded Washington and the defending Champs in Pittsburgh en route to their franchise’s first Conference Finals appearance in 17 years. The preview on the Habs will be much like the two before this one, this post will focus on the forwards in Montreal, and there will be another looking at the defense for the Canadiens later today. Tomorrow, I’ll have a goaltender preview all leading up to Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals tomorrow night at the Wachovia Center. So, without further ado, here are the forwards for the Montreal Canadiens:
Mike Cammalleri – Tomas Plekanec – Andrei Kostitsyn
Travis Moen – Scott Gomez – Brian Gionta
Tom Pyatt – Dominic Moore – Maxim Lapierre
Benoit Pouliot – Glen Metropolit – Mathieu Darche
Three Forwards to watch on the Canadiens:
1. Mike Cammalleri, Left Wing. The man the Canadiens and their fans call “Cammo” has been an absolute force offensively for the Cinderella Canadiens throughout the playoffs. He has scored timely goals, made timely plays, and has been about as clutch as they come in the NHL’s second season. Cammalleri’s goal scoring prowess has never been doubted, as he scored 39 goals last year for Calgary and 26 this season – his first in Montreal. However, his success in the Stanley Cup Playoffs has been unbelievable. Cammalleri leads all players in the playoffs with twelve goals, and has participated in all fourteen of Montreal’s postseason contests. He also has six helpers to go along with his twelve tallies, giving him eighteen points, also good for the league lead. He’s a force at five on five and on the powerplay, and chances are you will be hearing his name quite a bit in this series.
2. Scott Gomez, Center. Gomer is a guy not many Flyers fans need to familiarize themselves with. He spent the majority of his career with one of the Flyers archrivals in the New Jersey Devils before jumping ship to another of the Flyers rivals in the New York Rangers. He’s always brought his “A” game whenever the Orange and Black are the opponent, and it’s safe to say that nothing different should be expected in this series. Gomez has one goal and ten assists for Montreal this postseason, and has 45 points in 58 career games against the Flyers. He’s always been known as an exceptional playmaker, and although I will obviously be cheering against him in this series, it’s hard not to marvel at his vision on the ice and his accuracy on passes, as I so often do when I watch Gomez play live. He’s an exceptional player and certainly someone the Flyers will need to keep a close eye on as these games wear on.
3. Brian Gionta, Right Wing. Much like Gomez, Gionta also really needs to introduction to the Flyers and their fans. A lifetime Devil before this season, Gionta has constantly been able to score big goals and score them often for his teams when they go head-to-head with the Flyers. In his career against the Orange and Black, Gionta has 30 points (12G, 18A) in 40 games played. He’s been just about as balanced this year in the postseason for the Canadiens, as through fourteen playoff games, Gionta has seven goals and five assists. Gionta is a small guy on the ice, but he has a big heart. He is not afraid at all to muck things up in the corners if it means something is going to happen in a positive manner for his team in the end. He’s a hardworker and could be a difference-maker in this series when it is all said and done.
Offensive Leaders in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for Montreal:
GOALS: Mike Cammalleri (12)
ASSISTS: Scott Gomez (10)
POINTS: Cammalleri (18)
PLUS/MINUS: Travis Moen & Dominic Moore (+2)
PENALTY MINUTES: Gomez (19)