Looking ahead to Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals between the seventh-seeded Flyers and eighth-seeded Montreal Canadiens on Monday at the Wachovia Center. With a win, the Flyers would move into the Stanley Cup Finals against Chicago.
Pronger's steadying effect
The Flyers are unanimous that Chris Pronger has had a calming influence on them in the playoffs. This is the 14th straight season Pronger has been in the playoffs - and he is trying to get to the Cup Finals for the third time during his first year with a team.
"I think you learn it," he said. "You obviously have to have gone through a lot of different experiences, and some good, some bad, some indifferent. I think that was one of the biggest messages that I tried to get across after Game 3 - that it was only one game, just like the first two were only a part of the puzzle."
The Flyers, who are 11-5 in the playoffs, dropped a 5-1 decision in Game 3 in Montreal, then rebounded and blanked the host Habs, 3-0, in Game 4.
"You can't get too focused on one game," Pronger said. "We've obviously got to look at Game 5 as a huge test for us. Their backs have been against the wall a few times in these playoffs and they've always come out and played extremely well. We need to understand that and stay focused."
Back in the swing
An early tussle with Roman Hamrlik got Ian Laperriere in the mood Saturday, when he played his first game in a month and helped the Flyers defeat Montreal and take a 3-1 series lead.
Laperriere had been sidelined because of a concussion, a bruised brain and a broken bone near his eye. The 36-year-old right winger did not abandon his scrappy nature on Saturday.
"If I don't play that way, I'm not effective for my team," Laperriere said. "That first penalty, that roughing, I took a couple punches to the face, and that kind of got me going. I knew I could take a hit."
Give him a tongue depressor
It turns out that Montreal left winger Michael Cammalleri, who leads NHL playoff scorers with 13 goals, likes to clean up around the goal and around the house.
"I'm a neat freak," he told the the Globe and Mail.
Cammalleri, 27, who annoyed Flyers winger Dan Carcillo by sticking out his tongue at him in Game 3, said his girlfriend is "worse than I am - that's one of the things I find most attractive about her."
Despite his flashy offensive numbers, Cammalleri is minus-4 in his 18 playoff games; he is minus-3 and has just one point in four games against the Flyers. Keep the tongue in, Mike.
In 103 career regular-season games Michael Leighton has four shutouts. In his last four playoff games, Leighton has three shutouts.
Hamrlik issues challenge
Hamrlik, a veteran defenseman, says the Canadiens were outworked in Game 4 and need to show more pride on Monday.
"We stopped playing, and that's not our game," he said. "We have to stick with our plan. . . . They won battles and they were first on the puck [Saturday]. They showed more desperation. We have to show some enthusiasm and play with a little bit of heart."
If not, their gallant playoff run will be over.
- Sam Carchidi