Once again the Montreal Canadiens started the game a little shaky, but this time they allowed their opponents to show their lack of discipline, instead of putting themselves in a hole. The Flyers managed to give the Canadiens nine powerplays on the night, and although Montreal couldn't break through at first, when you have that much time on the man advantage, it works at some point.
Montreal ended up giving the Flyers five powerplays of their own, which is still too much, but it was an improvement on the game against Toronto.
Even though only 38 minutes of the game were played at even strength, that's where the game was truly decided. Rene Bourque was on fire all game, and it was he who got the scoring started by blitzing around the net and throwing a pass across the crease to Brian GIonta, who scored the same goal he's been scoring his entire career. Gionta is a shark around the net, and rebounds are blood in the water.
After 32 minutes without anymore scoring, Lars Eller decided a one goal lead wasn't enough and put a backhand past a sprawling Ray Emery just 12 seconds into the final frame.
After that, the powerplays for both teams went to work. P.K. Subban and Alex Galchenyuk showed amazing poise and patience to give Brendan Gallagher his second goal of the season, a giftwrapped tap in, Vincent Lecavalier broke the shutout bid after Francis Bouillon tripped on Brayden Schenn, and then Bourque was rewarded after two brilliant passes, first from Eller as he was heading off the ice, then from Gionta, who as Stephan said in the game thread, played against type by faking the shot and passing.
Carey Price was solid again, stopping 22 of 23 shots, and was named first star of the game by the Bell Centre crowd. I'm not entirely in agreement with that judgement, as the Flyers didn't really generate many scoring chances to my eye. Perhaps Olivier's scoring will prove me wrong on that point though.
The player of the game for me, was once again Lars Eller. Eller's dominance has been Pacioretty-like on the possession level, clocking in at 77.8% Fenwick last night, along with having a second straight multi-point night.
There were also the all-too-common controversial calls of the game, with the Flyers scoring a goal after an official had blown his whistle, wrongly assuming that Price had control of the puck. It's not very often that those calls even out in one game, but Brian Gionta scored a goal that was waved off with the "intent to blow" rule, so each team had reason to complain.
Michael Bournival's NHL debut was shorter than he would have liked, I'm sure. All the penalties kept his ice time down to just 6:09, but Bournival looked much the same as he did in preseason. His speed kills, and only once did he pull a rookie move, causing a neutral zone turnover towards the end of the game.
Jarred Tinordi also looked pretty good, but his 6:50 of ice time at even strength isn't a great vote of confidence from Therrien. Tinordi isn't always going to look amazing as a rookie, and there will be games where he doesn't see a ton of ice. I do wonder if Therrien might try Nathan Beaulieu against certain teams though.
The Habs have yet another three day break before they play Calgary, the first game of a Western swing.
More game coverage:
- Highlights - Montreal Canadiens drop the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1
- Canadiens vs Flyers - Top Six Minutes - Top two lines dominate, Habs register win #1
- Max Pacioretty's wrist injury keeps him out of action
- What can we reasonably expect from Danny Briere in Montreal?
- Ryan White shaves his head in solidarity with cancer patient