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Biron strong in net as Flyers take series lead

Monday, April 28, 2008

By DAN GELSTON

AP Sports Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- "Mar-ty! "Mar-ty!" "Mar-ty!"

That's a sound the Flyers want to hear all the way to the Stanley Cup.

Martin Biron stopped 32 shots and the Flyers scored three goals in the second period to beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 on Monday night, taking a 2-1 lead in their second-round series.

Game 4 is Wednesday in Philadelphia.

Mike Richards, R.J. Umberger and Scottie Upshall all scored goals on the first six shots of the second against 20-year-old Carey Price.

Price never made it to the end, yanked at the start of the third period for Jaroslav Halak. Price might not make it back as the starter for Game 4.

Biron lost his shutout -- and the Flyers nearly wasted a three-goal lead -- when defenseman Derian Hatcher was ejected from the game and Montreal capitalized on the power play.

Hatcher drove his right arm into the center of defenseman Francis Bouillon's back and slammed him into the glass. Bouillon, who wears a visor, was cut near the corner of his right eye.

Hatcher was tossed and Tomas Plekanec quickly scored a power-play goal off a scrum in front of the net to make it 3-1. The goal was reviewed, but the replay showed the puck was over the line before the net became dislodged.

Saku Koivu was stopped on a breakaway by Biron's poke check in the first period, but he scored on the power play in the third to pull Montreal to 3-2.

Biron quickly reverted to the form of the first two periods when he stopped shots in all kinds of ways. He made 17 of his saves in the third period while the Flyers took a measly two shots on goal.

No wonder he was serenaded again with chants of "Mar-ty!" "Mar-ty! from Flyers diehards.

After a scoreless first period, the Flyers made the most of their limited shots in the second.

Upshall fired a wrister past Price 7:04 into the period and another sold-out crowd roared in approval. One fan pressed a sign that read "The Price Is Wrong" against the glass.

Richards made it 2-0 when his short-handed goal bounced off Price's glove. Lasse Kukkonen was in the penalty box for holding the stick, putting the Flyers a man down. Who else but Richards would give them a lift? He scored five short-handed goals in the regular season, which led the Flyers and was tied for third in the NHL. Richards picked off the puck to score the unassisted goal.

Then the Flyers got what turned out to be a needed goal.

Jeff Carter poked the puck off Price, and Umberger, who left in the third period after a collision, one-timed the rebound for the Flyers second goal in 3:07.

Umberger was fine when he skated on the ice for being chosen first star of the game.

The series turned testy in Game 2 when Tom Kostopoulos threw a blindside punch at Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen. Flyers coach John Stevens called the punch "cheap" and Richards labeled it "gutless."

Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau said Timonen deserved the hit because he smirked at the Canadiens after a Flyers goal.

The first blows in this one came late in the third period, when Flyers forward Steve Downie tripped Price, who had strayed out from the crease, from behind with his stick. Downie was briefly pinned against the boards by two Canadiens and soon players from both teams came flying down to the corner and got involved in the skirmish.

The Flyers crowd, which booed "O Canada," started chanting "U.S.A!" "U.S.A!"

There were several other minor tussles, then Hatcher's slam in the third.

Notes: In response to a Washington Post column that described Flyers fans as "women and children could be security for Megedeth," lead singer Dave Mustaine sent a videotaped message of support. He wore Jason Smith's sweater. ... The Flyers have a 17-3 series record when leading 2-1.



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