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 For The Associated Press
MONTREAL (AP) -Martin Biron and the Philadelphia Flyers want to finish off the Montreal Canadiens as soon as possible since they have already lost the same commanding lead in a playoff series they now hold.
Philadelphia will have the first of up to three opportunities to eliminate Montreal when their Eastern Conference semifinal resumes Saturday night at the Bell Centre.
The Flyers took a 3-1 lead for a second straight playoff series with their third straight win over the Canadiens, a 4-2 victory Wednesday at the Wachovia Center.
Biron and his teammates had the same lead in the first round against Washington, then saw it evaporate as before winning Game 7 on the road.
``I think we not only learned from our series but we learned from watching other series like the Canadiens against Boston and knowing that the fourth win, that last win to clinch a series, is the hardest,'' Biron, who has been a standout in goal, said in a conference call Thursday.
``We were up 2-0 in Game 6 at home against Washington and ended up losing that one. I think you have to know that until the job is totally done anything can happen and that is where our desperation and our urgency in our game has got to come from.''
Montreal was pushed to the limit in the first round after taking a 3-1 lead against Boston.
``In the NHL any team on any night can beat anybody and the fact is that when you play a team that is desperate, that doesn't see any other option but winning, that gives them an edge and being on the other side you have to get that same edge in your game,'' Biron said. ``That fourth win is the toughest in the whole season and postseason.''
With two days between games, both teams took Thursday off and made select personnel available to the media via conference calls.
Biron, a father of three, including two-week-old daughter Emily Marie, said he made the most of a rare opportunity to spend time with his family.
``I got up (Thursday) morning, got my little guy ready, went to preschool with him and then I came back home and grabbed breakfast with the girls,'' Biron said, adding that the rest of his day's itinerary included plans to ``go for a little adventure'' with his children.
Along with Biron, who grew up a Nordiques fan in suburban Quebec City, another Quebec native is sticking it to his home province's team.
Booed lustily throughout each of his four appearances at the Bell Centre this season, Daniel Briere continued his bid to prove that he made the right choice in signing as a free agent with Philadelphia over Montreal.
He scored his playoff-leading eighth goal on a power play late in the third period Wednesday after the Canadiens had tied the game moments earlier with two goals in 37 seconds.
Briere acknowledged that adversity appears to bring out the best in the Flyers, who nearly blew a three-goal lead in Game 3 before holding on for a 3-2 win.
``Sometimes it would be nice to get that lead, to keep it and to close things down, but at the same time it's good to have that kind of character where we never quit even when things get tough,'' Briere said. ``Our character comes out and we find a way to pull it off. Sometimes it might be playing with fire. Hopefully we don't give that chance to Montreal to come back in the series.''
After a frustration-laden flight home Wednesday night, Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau gave his players and the team's staff the day off.
``I think everybody needs to go back home and spend some time with their families and recharge the batteries so we can regroup (Friday) and then start something that not a lot of teams have been able to do,'' Carbonneau said.
Montreal is the most recent NHL team to overcome a 3-1 deficit to win a playoff series, accomplishing the feat for the first time in franchise history against Boston in 2004.
Captain Saku Koivu, forwards Alex Kovalev, Steve Begin and Michael Ryder, and defensemen Andrei Markov, Mike Komisarek, Francis Bouillon and Patrice Brisebois were all on that team.
``I think it helps, for sure, to have a group that has lived that experience,'' Carbonneau said. ``They're going to be able to give a sense of that to everybody around them. Those are players we're definitely going to talk with (Friday).''
Carbonneau, who played golf Thursday, has decided who will start in goal Saturday night, though he said he would wait until Friday to reveal his choice once he has talked Carey Price and Jaroslav Halak.
Named a finalist for the Jack Adams Award as the league's coach of the year Wednesday, Carbonneau said the extra day between games was timely because it offered the Canadiens an opportunity to reflect on a season that has exceeded expectations.
``We accomplished a lot, and I don't think we're done,'' Carbonneau said.
---
AP Sports Writer Dan Gelston in Philadelphia contributed to this report
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