Halak, Canadiens stumble in 3-0 loss to Flyers

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Hahalak.jpgFinal – Philadelphia Flyers 3, Montreal Canadiens 0

Flyers
lead series 2-0

I know that a lot of attention now is going
to turn on Jaroslav Halak, and how his struggles are costing the
Canadiens after his heroics got them to this point. While Halak has
certainly looked far from the goaltender we saw in the first two rounds
(and actually, sometimes we did see this side of him) the rest of the
team hasn’t looked much better.

After cashing in on their underdog
roles against the Capitals and Penguins, the Canadiens entered this
series as not exactly the favorites but far from a team that many
thought didn’t have a chance. For the first time in the playoffs they
were a team with the pressure on their shoulders, with a crazed fan base
that was sniffing the Stanley Cup finals and demanding success.

After
two games, they have come nowhere near living up to expectations.

The
Flyers continue to play like a confident team with no pressure and
after surviving an early push by the Habs used a boring, but solid, 3-0
win to go up on the Canadiens 2-0 in the series.

Michael Leighton
became the first Flyers goaltender since Bernie Parent in 1975 to have
back-to-back shutouts in the playoffs, as he easily outplayed Halak for
the second straight game. He’s looking confident and fresh (as he should
be) and the goaltending questions the Flyers faced after Brian Boucher
was lost to injury have been answered.

On the other end, Halak
continued his trend of looking a bit worn down after a big series and he
was far from the confident and challenging goaltender we saw against
the Capitals and Penguins. Of course, this happened at the start of the
series against the Penguins yet it didn’t carry over to the second game.
Now, the Habs are faced with the question of just what to do with their
miracle goaltender, who looked even shakier in net as the game
progressed.

With the Habs trailing 2-0 in the third, and his doing
at least trying to come back in the game, Halak allowed a very weak far
side goal to Ville Leino, barely reacting to the shot. Whether he
didn’t see it, or just misplayed the shot, it was a troubling trend to
see as the game progressed and Halak constantly failed to show the
energetic and positionally sound goaltending that was so successful
before.

The series now heads back to Montreal, where a rabid Bell
Center is sure to do all they can to give their home team the support
they need to crawl back into the series.