The Montreal defense is playing its best as the Canadiens get closer to what would be their 31st appearance in the Stanley Cup finals.
Patrick Roy posted his second shutout in three games and Montreal allowed Philadelphia only 17 shots on net Sunday night, leading the Canadiens to a 3-0 victory and a 3-1 lead in the Wales Conference final.The Canadiens can wrap up the best-of-seven series at home on Tuesday night. A victory would give them the chance at their 23rd Stanley Cup against the winner of the other semifinal between Chicago and Calgary.
For the third straight game, the Montreal defense rarely gave the Flyers a good scoring opportunity.
"That's the style of hockey we have to play," said Shayne Corson, who scored one goal and assisted on another. "We've won the Jennings Trophy (for fewest goals allowed) for three years thanks to our team defense. We take pride in that. Keeping the puck out of our net is as important to us as scoring goals."
Thanks to that kind of pride, Roy has surrendered only one goal to the Flyers in the last 186 minutes and 51 seconds.
"We just continue to work game after game," said Roy, who has surrendered only four goals in four games of the series. "We concentrate really well and we have confidence that we can play well together."
Corson gave the Canadiens a 1-0 lead at 10:09 of the second period with his fourth goal of the playoffs.
Philadelphia goaltender Ron Hextall, who missed the first three games of the series because of a bruised right knee, stopped Corson's first shot with his pad. But the puck trickled to the post and Corson was able to follow his own shot and knock the puck into the net.
"He made a good stop on the first shot," Corson said. "I was lucky that the puck stayed right by the net and I was able to put it into the open net. He made a great stop on the first shot and I think he even got his stick on the puck before it went in."
Faced with the knowledge that the team that has scored first has won each of the games in the series, the Flyers seemed to deflate on the ice.
"We can't just quit," Ron Sutter said. "We create (scoring) chances by working hard. I'm not saying we're not working hard, but they just shut everything down."
Montreal took advantage of a five-on-three situation to go ahead 2-0 on a goal by Chris Chelios at 13:57.
Eight seconds after Hextall was penalized for shooting the puck into the crowd, Chelios took a pass from Stephane Richer and beat Hextall with a slap shot from the top of the left circle.