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Brian Gionta #21 and Travis Moen #32 of the Montreal Canadiens sit on the bench while playing against the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Wachovia Center on May 16, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Jim McIsaac/2010 Getty Images

Only one Cinderella at a time can wear the glass slipper, and in the first game of the unlikely Eastern Conference final pitting eighth-seeded Montreal and seventh-seeded Philadelphia, it was the Flyers' turn.

It would thus appear that becoming the third team in NHL annals to overcome a 3-0 series deficit gives more of a boost than beating the regular-season champs and reigning Stanley Cup champs back-to-back.

"We didn't have too much time to think," Flyers forward Simon Gagne said of the quick turnaround from Game 7 in Boston on Friday to last night.

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The home team was in inspired form and quite simply untouchable this night, a fact saluted by the orange-clad throngs who stood throughout the final minute.

All in all, the Flyers turned in a very Hab-like performance - allowing lots of shots, blocking scores more, keeping opponents to the outside, the puck in the offensive zone and letting the power-play do the heavy lifting - in dispatching the Canadiens 6-0.

It was Philadelphia's fifth win in a row, their longest such playoff string since 1995.

"We weren't ready," said Montreal defenceman Marc-Andre Bergeron. "It was like we wanted to observe them to see what kind of team they would be. We found out."

There was no sense of panic in the Montreal room - they lost the first game in their series with Pittsburgh under similar circumstances, giving up a raft of power-play goals - as forward Mathieu Darche said, "you regroup, you take a page from their book."

The Flyers won because of their willingness to crowd Montreal goaltender Jaroslav Halak - their first three goals were scored with a Philadelphia player standing in or near the blue paint.

But the home side wasn't completely satisfied.

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Flyers forward Scott Hartnell said the coaching staff had stern words after a first period in which Philadelphia had just six shots. Gagne said "we expect (Montreal) to come out stronger and play better."

The Habs didn't help themselves by taking several ill-advised penalties - centre Scott Gomez was a prime offender, as his first period penalty resulted in the Flyers' first goal and they scored another moments after he left the box the second time for needlessly slashing Philly's Chris Pronger.

Philadelphia was the aggressor from the opening faceoff, and wasted little time in opening the scoring, when defenceman Braydon Coburn knocked a puck in from the side of the net on the power play at 3:55 of the first.

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About the Author
National Correspondent

Sean Gordon joined the Globe's Quebec bureau in 2008 and covers the Canadiens, Alouettes and Impact, as well as Quebec's contingent of Olympic athletes. More

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