Canadiens vs. Flyers game recap: No Super Bowl hangover
The Philadelphia Flyers stopped the Montreal Canadiens’ win streak at two games.
On the high of winning two straight, the Montreal Canadiens looked to continue their winning ways against the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday evening. The Habs headed to the City of Brotherly Love, hoping to capitalize on an inconsistent Flyers squad, and put a dent in the Metropolitan team’s playoff hopes.
Special teams got to work early on, as both Montreal and Philadelphia exchanged penalties in the opening minutes of the frame. A holding call went against Tomas Plekanec to put the Flyers on the power play first, but Carey Price turned everything aside during the ensuing 5-on-4 play to keep it a goalless game.
Not to be outdone, at the other end of the ice, Brian Elliott also held down the fort when Claude Giroux spent two minutes in the box for interfering with Nikita Scherbak. It was all Philadelphia after the penalty expired, as the home team made a strong push to get on the board first.
But Montreal responded in kind as the period wore on. The final five minutes of the frame saw Scherbak, Brendan Gallagher, and Tomas Plekanec all getting great chances to make it a 1-0 game, but they just couldn’t beat Elliott. The late push nearly evened up the shot count, as the Flyers barely edged out the Canadiens by putting up 10 shots to the vistors’ eight in the first period.
The first goal came 42 seconds into the second, when Giroux made a clean tape-to-tape pass to Travis Konecny, who tapped it past Price.
Meanwhile, the Canadiens continued their march to the penalty box as Plekanec earned his second penalty of the night, just over six minutes into the frame . Though Montreal was able to successfully kill it off, Byron Froese took an ill-timed slashing penalty just as the Plekanec penalty expired.
Despite being down a man, Artturi Lehkonen had no trouble stealing the puck and streaking in to beat Elliott. Lehkonen’s short-handed marker and fifth goal of the season briefly tied the game at one.
But with plenty of time remaining on the man advantage, Philadelphia potted their second goal of the night. Giroux successfully converted on a Shayne Gostisbehere pass to make it 2-1 for the Flyers.
Montreal would get their own opportunity on the power play, when a penalty call went against Nolan Patrick for holding Charles Hudon over halfway through the period. Despite some good looks, the team was unable to respond with a goal of their own.
Luckily for the Canadiens, the fourth line was relentless in their pursuit of a tying goal. Their persistence would pay off when Logan Shaw put one past Elliott with less than two minutes remaining in the frame. Froese picked up an assist on the play, making up for his earlier penalty.
Though Montreal ended the second on a stronger note, more undisciplined play from Plekanec put Philadelphia back on the power play to close out the second period and begin the third.
The penalty came back to haunt the Canadiens, as Jakub Voracek’s subsequent power-play marker restored the Flyers’ lead.
A minute later, adding insult to injury, Konecny added his second goal of the night to double Philadelphia’s lead. His 13th goal of the season made it a 4-2 game in favour of the home team.
Little went right for Montreal following the goal, as Philadelphia pressed to increase their lead. The Flyers took advantage of the Canadiens passivity to make life difficult for Price, but the team was able to weather the storm.
With Scott Laughton serving time for holding Scherbak, Montreal’s power play unit got to work. Jonathan Drouin found an immovable Gallagher in front of Philadelphia’s net, and the winger tucked one through Elliott to make it a one goal game again.
Gallagher’s 19th of the season sparked a late Canadiens push, as the team pulled Price with less than two minutes left on the clock. But they couldn’t quite score the tying goal, and instead ceded an empty-netter to Ivan Provorov. That ended up being the last goal of the night, as the Canadiens dropped the game by a score of 5-3.
- Brendan Gallagher remains one of the positives on the 2017-18 Canadiens squad. Though Montreal’s offensive woes have been well documented, Gallagher has continued to produce at a consistent pace. With 19 goals and 12 assists, he has now bested his points total from last season. More impressively, he’s managed to put up these numbers without significant help from his linemates.
- Uncharacteristic poor play from Tomas Plekanec really hurt Montreal in this game. Three unnecessary minor penalties — one of which resulted in a power-play goal in the third period — forced the Canadiens onto their heels and ultimately cost them the game. This type of play might be excusable if it came from a rookie, but to see it coming from a veteran player like Plekanec is disappointing to say the least.
- Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the Canadiens gave up two goals in under two minutes. And again it took the wind completely out of their sails. Montreal’s inability to prevent multiple goals in a short time span is almost a running joke at this point. /