Canadiens vs. Flyers: Game preview, start time, Tale of the Tape, and how to watch

The Habs travel to Philadelphia after their three-day break.

While many people will be out watching the Philadelphia Eagles parade the Lombardi Trophy around the city, the Montreal Canadiens will be preparing to take on the Flyers on Thursday.

It will be the Habs’ first game since being one of the opening acts on Super Bowl Sunday, in which they earned a second consecutive victory in a matinee matchup with the Ottawa Senators.

Helping them to that success has been a power play that is finally clicking after a few seasons of mediocrity. Five of the nine goals they scored on the weekend were on the man advantage, with three from defenceman Jeff Petry.

The offence hasn’t been nearly so good on the road of late, with just five goals scored over their last four games. The recall of Nikita Scherbak has given the team a different look with another playmaker in the mix, so perhaps he can be the catalyst that gets the road game working.

How to watch

Puck drop: 7:00 PM EST / 4:00 AM PST
In the Canadiens region: TSN2 (English), RDS (French)
In the Flyers region: NBCSP
Elsewhere: GameCentre Live, NHL Center Ice

While the Canadiens’ season has been reduced to getting players like Scherbak some NHL time, the Flyers are still very much in the thick of a battle for playoff positioning. They currently occupy the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, but that place is anything but secure, with three Metropolitan Division teams waiting for their opportunity to climb the standings.

After seeing his production slowly drop over the last few years, Claude Giroux’s offensive game has returned, already having matched his total from 2016-17. Jakub Voracek is also having a great year, and is challenging for the lead in the NHL, with 62 points.

The biggest surprise among the forward group has to be Sean Couturier. Known more for his play in the defensive zone than at the attacking end of the ice, he has smashed his previous career high in goals, with 27 through 53 games. He’s on pace to nearly triple his previous mark of 15 goals set in 2014-15.

The Flyers have had to use more of a makeshift defence corps this season, which helps explain why with that incredible firepower at the top they still sit in the middle of the pack in the conference standings.

Three of those blue-liners are aged 24 or younger, and are learning the game on the fly in the NHL. Robert Hagg and Ivan Provorov are still on entry-level deals, while Shayne Gostisbehere heads the group just a few seasons into his NHL career.

The team had given up four goals or more in each of its previous four games before a 2-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes, There’s a chance for the Canadiens to build upon the offensive-zone play thay’ve enjoyed in recent gmes, but the opportunity is the same for both teams, and it should make for an interesting contest.

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