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The Philadelphia Flyers tried their best to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday. They put 39 shots on goal, but only scored twice. That wasn’t nearly enough to counter the four the Maple Leafs put behind Martin Jones, and the result was a sixth consecutive loss for the bottom team in the Metropolitan Division.
After refinding their scoring touch under Martin St. Louis, the Montreal Canadiens have lost their powers in the two games Carey Price has played. He hasn’t seen his teammates score a single goal while he’s been in the crease, and though he only allowed two goals in his last start, the Habs saw their own streak hit six losses as well.
At this stage, with five games remaining in their seasons including tonight’s head-to-head matchup, both teams just want the off-season to begin. Neither expected it would be at the bottom of the standings at the end of the year, and everyone is just looking for a fresh slate six months from now.
Tale of the Tape
|44.8% (29th)||Scoring-chances-for %||44.8% (30th)|
|2.52 (31st)||Goals per game||2.56 (30th)|
|3.83 (32nd)||Goals against per game||3.62 (28th)|
|13.2% (31st)||PP%||12.2% (32nd)|
|74.6% (28th)||PK%||75.2% (27th)|
At least Canadiens fans were able to enjoy a brief mid-season surge from their team, one that included six straight wins and a bucket of Cole Caufield goals to cheer about. Flyers fans didn’t experience anything similar. Following a decent 8-4-2 start to the year, the losses began to pile up, and have been ever since.
Even Philadelphia’s farm team has been bad this year, one of the worst in the AHL with a .479 points percentage. There’s little immediate help on the horizon for them, and few top-end prospects in the system.
On the flipside, Montreal’s minor-league affiliate has been very good a year after challenging for the top spot in the entire AHL, vying for home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. The organization has seen a few of its prospects leading the charge, and tonight the one who leads the club in scoring gets rewarded with another shot with the big club.
Rafaël Harvey-Pinard has already seen some NHL minutes during a period when COVID-19 knocked half of the Canadiens roster out of action at the end of 2021. He played three games versus very tough opponents — the Tampa Bay Lightning, Carolina Hurricanes, and Florida Panthers — and saw his usage rise with each game. He even scored in his debut to gain a major boost to his confidence. He’s drawn plenty of comparisons to Brendan Gallagher since his draft year, and tonight is another chance to show how that will translate at the top level.
His comparable just happens to be playing some of his best hockey of the season. The return of Price has refired Gallagher’s engine, and he’s once more become a nuisance for the opposition by hounding defenders for every puck. It’s nice to see the veteran playing his typical game, and that should inspire his teammates — whether it’s their fourth game or their 799th — to match his level. Perhaps, for the first time in three outings, it will allow Price to celebrate a goal with his team.