Scott Upshall deflected the game-winning goal past Montreal goaltender Carey Price with 3:04 to play to give Philadelphia a 6-4 victory on Saturday and advance the Flyers to the NHL semi-finals.
The victory gave the Flyers, who had the worst record in the NHL a season ago, a four games to one victory in the best-of-seven second round Stanley Cup playoff series, eliminating the Eastern Conference regular-season champions.
The Flyers will play either the Pittsburgh Penguins or New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference finals. The Penguins lead that series 3-1 with game five in Pittsburgh yesterday afternoon.
It’s the first trip this deep into the playoffs for the Flyers since 1997, when Philadelphia was swept by Detroit in the NHL Finals.
Montreal’s Andrei Kostitsyn pulled the Canadiens level at 4-4 with his second goal of the playoffs just 2:13 into the third period.
Price denied Philadelphia’s Daniel Briere on a breakaway midway into the third period but could not stop Upshall’s deflection into the right side of the net late in the period.
The Canadiens pulled Price for an extra attacker in search of the equalizer but Mike Knuble sealed the Flyers’ triumph with an empty net goal with 50 seconds remaining.
Montreal seized a 3-1 lead 8:15 into the second period on Chris Higgins’ third goal of the playoffs, but the Flyers answered with three goals in just two minutes and 58 seconds late to seize a 4-3 lead entering the third period.
Mike Richards opened the surge with a controversial goal that was video reviewed by goal judges to determine if the puck was directed into the net by a glove or merely a shot that went in after deflecting off a glove.
It was ruled the latter and the Flyers’ comeback had begun 14:02 into the second period.
R.J. Umberger followed with his ninth goal of the playoffs just 1:42 later off an assist from Richards and Scott Hartnell pushed Philadelphia ahead 17:00 into the period, beating shell-shocked netminder Price.
Tomas Plekanec had given Montreal a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal 4:29 into the first period.
Umberger equalized for the Flyers 5:51 later but Alexei Kovalev put the Canadiens back on top just 69 seconds later with his fifth goal of the playoffs.