- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 29, 2008

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Derian Hatcher was like all the other Flyers fans who watched the last 15 minutes on TV. He did it in the locker room, feeling sick, stressed and helpless as the lead nearly slipped away.

Unlike the other orange-clad diehards, Hatcher could have prevented the frayed nerves last night.

When Philadelphia held on for the victory, Hatcher could thank Martin Biron that the defenseman’s late ejection didn’t cost them the series lead.

Biron stopped 32 shots and the Flyers scored three goals in the second period to beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-2, taking a 2-1 lead in their second-round series.

“Marty has been terrific. He’s been our best player in this series,” coach John Stevens said. “We probably felt going in that he would have to be.”

Biron lost his shutout ” and the Flyers nearly wasted a three-goal lead ” when Hatcher was ejected in the third period and Montreal capitalized on the lengthy power play.

Hatcher drove his right arm into the center of defenseman Francis Bouillon’s back and slammed him into the glass. Bouillon, who wears a visor, was cut near the corner of his right eye.

Hatcher was whistled for five minutes for boarding and a game misconduct, ending his night. That was all the opportunity Montreal needed to make its first serious run at Biron. It was nearly enough to tie the score.

“Your first reaction is you just hope the team can get through it,” Hatcher said.

Tomas Plekanec quickly scored a power-play goal off a scrum in front of the net to make it 3-1. The goal was reviewed, but the replay showed the puck was over the line before the net became dislodged.

Saku Koivu was stopped on a breakaway by Biron’s poke check in the first period, but he scored on the power play in the third to pull Montreal to 3-2.

“It got a little scary on the power play,” Biron said.

Hatcher felt awful.

“Watching the last 15 minutes was a lot more draining than actually playing the game,” Hatcher said. “I feel mentally exhausted right now.”

The Flyers killed the rest of the penalty and Biron quickly reverted to the form of the first two periods, when he stopped shots in all kinds of ways. He made 17 of his saves in the third period while the Flyers took a measly two shots on goal.

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