The two teams combined for 11 shots on goal in overtime alone, and it wasn’t your typical 0-0 game through 65 minutes. There were scoring chances on both sides throughout the game and Charlie Lindgren made 33 saves, including an absolute robbery in overtime, while Petr Mrazek made 28 for the Flyers.
The shootout went six rounds before Sean Couturier ended it by scoring on Lindgren. Paul Byron and Jakub Voracek traded goals in the opening three rounds.
The save of the night - and there were many good ones - had to go to Lindgren. With under 30 seconds left in overtime, Shayne Gostisbehere was behind the net and centred the puck to Claude Giroux. Giroux had a whack at the puck, but Lindgren dove across to keep the puck out on the goal line.
The game got off to a rough start, when on the opening shift Max Pacioretty and Travis Konecny collided. Gostisbehere thought Pacioretty went for the Flyers forward’s knee and stood up for his teammate. There were no punches thrown so both players got two minutes for roughing. Pacioretty had an additional two minutes for tripping.
The Canadiens only had three shots in the first period, but actually had the first scoring chance of the game when Daniel Carr and Nicolas Deslauriers wer alone in front, but couldn’t beat Mrazek.
Early in the second period, the Flyers had a real chance of their own when Oskar Lindblom drove to the net and received a pass in front but Lindgren was there to make the save.
Late in the period, Paul Byron had a chance on Mrazek, but couldn’t get everything on the shot and the Flyers goaltender made a stick save.
Jacob de la Rose had several chances but Mrazek was up to the task on all of them.
In overtime, the best Canadiens chance came from Max Pacioretty. After some great puck movement from Alex Galchenyuk, Victor Mete and Pacioretty, the Habs captain had a chance in front but Mrazek made the pad save.
- Noah Juulsen had a third straight solid NHL game. He’s surpassed all expectations I’ve had. He’s played confident, taking the right chances and not costing his team. I never knew exactly what his ceiling would be but he’s already looking like a solid second pairing defenceman and he’s been in the NHL for a week. The Canadiens right side with Shea Weber, Jeff Petry and Juulsen is locked down for next season.
- With Juulsen’s rise, Victor Mete has also been trusted more. He’s getting shifts in overtime, he was second among Canadiens defencemen in icetime and had more defensive zone starts than Petry. Claude Julien is trusting his youth and it’s only going to make this team better. Even as soon as next year.
That, along with Marc Bergevin’s comments about building through the draft and leading with youth and speed and character means that the thinking has shifted. Nikita Scherbak is back with the big club, and it wouldn’t shock me to see Kerby Rychel or Rinat Valiev given a real look at the NHL level. Rychel is the oldest one among them at 23.
- Jacob de la Rose has taken a lot of heat this season. From being thrust into a role between Jonathan Drouin and Galchenyuk, to his long stretches as a healthy scratch, to his inability to shoot anywhere other than the goaltender’s logo. But I thought he played really well last night. He had good scoring opportunities and actually made Mrazek work to make saves, including a couple of big glove saves.
He has a real chance playing with Paul Byron and Brendan Gallagher, and, honestly hasn’t looked out of place. It’s been a rough road for the second-round pick but he’s starting to show flashes of what made him a fringe first-round pick in his draft year.
We laughed when Marc Bergevin said that Phillip Danault could replace Lars Eller and we probably didn’t expect de la Rose to replace Plekanec as well as he has. But so far, so good.