The Philadelphia Flyers played a perfect road game to take a 3-1 series lead. This was not the same Montreal Canadiens team that played Game Three. That team was relentless, forcing the Flyers at every turn; the Game Four Canadiens were flat, lifeless and didn't show any hint of urgency.
The Flyers established a strong defensive presence, particularly in the second period, when the Canadiens were limited to one shot -- and that pathetic total doesn't even do justice to how ineffective Montreal was offensively.
In fact, the only shot Montreal had in the second period was a long-distance dump-in that rolled to Flyers goaltender Michael Leighton.
Leighton recorded his third shutout of the season.
Philadelphia's dominant defensive performance was keyed by Chris Pronger, who played 31:07. His partner, Matt Carle, also led the Flyers with six blocked shots.
Kimmo Timonen and Braydon Coburn, the Flyers' second pair, also excelled, with both playing more than 25 minutes and Coburn was plus-3 while Timonen was plus-2.
While allowing only one shot on goal, the Flyers pulled away with two second period goals. Given Montreal's difficulty scoring goals in this series, that figured to be enough and it was.
Philadelphia controlled play in Game Four, winning 38 of 56 face-offs (67.8%) and outshooting Montreal 24-17.
Montreal's 17 shots on goal represented the third time in this year's playoffs that they were held under 20 shots in a game, but that included a bit (emphasis on "a bit") of late pressure -- the Canadiens only had 12 shots on goal with five minutes left in the third period.
Jeff Carter and Ian Laperriere returned to Philadelphia's lineup, while Daniel Carcillo and Andreas Nodl were scratched. Carter played 13:51, so the Flyers' lead made it prudent to ease him back into action.
Montreal's power play was blanked again, going 0-for-2. The second-ranked regular-season power play is now 1-for-17 (5.9%) in this series.
Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@ctv.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen.