Steve Begin looked like a hero blocking a Daniel Briere slapshot early in the third period with Philly already leading 2-0; but Begin quickly went from hero to zero late in the 3rd, taking an ill-advised, highly undisciplined interference penalty on Sami Kapanen...and wouldn't you know it, none other than that very same Daniel Briere would score the game winner on the ensuing powerplay.
R.J. Umberger continued his sensational playoff run tonight with another 2 goals, his 6th and 7th of these playoffs and 6th this series alone. He had 13 in 74 regular season games.
Umberger opened the scoring tonight midway through the 2nd on a 5-on-3 powerplay, wristing a shot past Jaroslav Halak shortside from the left wing. Briere had an assist on the goal.
The Flyers added to their lead early in the third, as Scott Hartnell banged home a Vaclav Prospal rebound that had initially beaten Halak far-side but rang off the post. The whole play started with Bryan Smolinski giving the puck away in the neutral zone, directly onto Prospal's blade.
The Habs would find life late in the game once again, just as they did in game 3 on the undisciplined Derian Hatcher 5-minute boarding major.
Tomas Plekanec would deflect a Josh Gorges point wristshot through Marty Biron's legs to narrow the gap to one goal with 7:01 remaining in the game.
Saku Koivu would then tie the game 57 seconds later with his 3rd of the playoffs, converting a rebound off a Mark Streit blue-line slapper that was blocked down by Randy Jones in front of Biron.
Francis Bouillon had the secondary assists on both goals.
Then, at 15:52, Begin was called for interference as he completely blindsided Sami Kapanen into the Canadiens bench-boards, dangerously close to the closing door. Kapanen had dished the puck on a pass about 3 seconds prior to the hit, effectively removing him from the play and causing Begin's otherwise legal hit to be called as interference.
Daniel Briere needed all but 30 seconds to put the stake through the hearts of the Habs players and fans, swatting home a rebound off a shot that never quite got through to Halak, hitting a maze of bodies in front.
R.J. Umberger added his 2nd of the game into the empty net with just under 2 seconds remaining.
Martin Biron once again out-goaled his counterpart, this time being Jaroslav Halak; he stopped 36 of 38 en route to the win. Halak stopped 22 of 25, and hardly was to blame for this loss.
Halak was tested early in the game, as the Habs came out gunning much in the way they played in the 3rd period of game 3, but did give up a shorthanded breakaway to Jeff Carter which required a great save from Halak. The Habs simply failed once again to give their goalie a lead to work with, despite having their goalie make some pretty big saves to keep them in the game.
Biron also made his fair share of great saves, including a notable stop on Steve Begin shorthanded, who took a feed from a hard-forechecking Maxim Lapierre from behind the net in the slot and wristed it off a reacting Biron's right pad, practically on the goal line.
He also came up huge on Tom Kostopoulos in the first, stacking the pads on a short-side try that was also setup from behind the net by Smolinski.
Biron, who grew up a die-hard Quebec Nordiques fan and used to meet the team returning from road-trips as a child, has got to be loving the fact that he is a potentially major reason of Montreal's exit in these playoffs.
Daniel Briere, who refused to sign a more lucrative, 8-year deal with Montreal so he could play alongside super-sniper Simon Gagne, must be loving this as well.
Montreal went 0-for-4 on the powerplay; Philly was 2-for-4.
The Flyers have now scored the first two goals of the game all four games of the series.
The thought has quickly shifted already to Saturday's fifth game of the series.
"We have to find a way to get it done," Briere said. "We have to go in there with a mind-set that it's Game 7."
He's not kidding.
The Flyers squandered this very same 3-1 lead in the first round, allowing the Capitals to tie the series at 3 forcing a 7th game in Washington. The Flyers needed overtime to win that one off Joffrey Lupul's stick.
Montreal can certainly benefit from the 2 days of rest before Saturday's game. On top of that, the scheduling still favors Montreal.
With game 5 at home, the Habs can rest up and use the home-fans to their advantage. Game 6 (should there be one) would take place the very next night, Sunday, back in Philly, where the momentum gained from a (possible) win in game 5 would easily transfer through. Should the Habs win there, they'd have a day to settle down before (a potential) 7th game back in Montreal on Tuesday night.
This may be wishful thinking, but it's not entirely out of the realm of possibility, is it?
Despite having a good night in goal, expect Halak to sit game 5 out in favor of Carey Price.
Also, look for the Habs to get Michael Ryder back into the lineup, as the Habs now need any bit of possible offense from here on out.