Canadiens vs. Flyers: Game Preview, Start Time, and TV Schedule
Undefeated in regulation through their opening five games, can the Habs keep the run going against Philadelphia?
Coming into the 2016-17 season, it was clear from the start that it would take some time for the Montreal Canadiens roster to figure each other out. That was to be expected, of course, considering the number of new faces welcomed by the club over the course of the summer.
Those changes meant hope - for the most part, at least - that this season would be an improvement on the last. Now five games into the regular season, with the Canadiens sitting atop the Eastern Conference, it’s evident that they feel comfortable playing together and are doing their best to leave the woes of last year behind.
That is not to say that there is no longer any room for improvement. There are still parts of the Habs game, even after a 4-2 victory over the Boston Bruins, that many observers would call into question. When you’re winning, though, little else matters, and it affords the team all the time they need to work out the finer details.
How to Watch
Start Time: 7:30 PM EDT / 4:30 PDT
National: Sportsnet East (English), RDS (French)
In the Flyers region: CSN-PH
Stream: NHL GameCentre Live, Sportsnet Now
The Philadelphia Flyers, on the other hand, have opened the season with five of a possible ten points thus far. Having dropped three straight after an opening day win, the Flyers stopped the bleeding on Saturday with an impressive 6-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. Still, the Flyers play has left something to be desired and may be exploitable by a Habs team that has been converting on a ridiculous number of opportunities.
Philadelphia has been one of the worst possession teams in this early part of the season, ranking as the seventh-worst league-wide in terms of CF% at 46.52%. This gives the Canadiens a chance to turn their own possession difficulties around, which they took another step toward doing on Saturday.
Unfortunately for the Habs, the Flyers do boast a slew of potentially lethal forwards who can make the most of the chances they get. Jakub Voracek and Claude Giroux lead the way with seven and six points respectively, while Wayne Simmonds, Matt Read and rookie Travis Konecny each sit at a point-per-game. The Flyers may not have been the hottest team out of the gate in terms of wins, but it’s through no fault of their star players’ ability to finish.
On the defensive side of things, the Flyers are of course led by second-year blue-liner Shayne Gostisbehere. The 2015-16 Calder Memorial Trophy finalist also sits at five points, showing no sign of hitting the dreaded sophomore slump. Interestingly, Philadelphia has another rookie defenceman turning heads in 19-year-old Ivan Provorov - certainly a welcome sight for Flyers fans who have been witness to some struggling defensive lineups in recent history.
Working in the Habs favour tonight may be the Flyers goaltending, or lack thereof. Steve Mason has performed as a legitimate starting goaltender for Philadelphia over the past four seasons, but that has not been the case early on in 2016-17. With a save percentage of .882 (and Michal Neuvirth’s looking even worse), the Flyers have been unable to rely on their goaltending and ultimately, that may be the cause of yet another loss this evening.
At least, that’s what the Habs will be hoping for.