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

Credit: David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports

Game 78: Montreal Canadiens vs. Philadelphia Flyers

Start time: 7:00 PM EDT / 4:00 PM PDT
In the Canadiens region: TSN2 (English), RDS (French)
In the Flyers region: NBC Sports Philadelphia+
Streaming: ESPN+, RDS, TSN+

As they had in the preceding games versus the Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs, the Montreal Canadiens found themselves getting outplayed by a better New York Rangers team on Sunday evening, and falling behind on the scoreboard. Unlike those other opponents, the Rangers have a solid defence and great structure, and the Canadiens couldn’t threaten the NHL’s best team with a comeback effort. Since the Habs beat the Philadelphia Flyers back on March 28 to cap off their first three-game winning streak of the season, they’ve gone up against some of the Eastern Conference’s top playoff teams, competed fairly well in large portions of those matchups, but lost four of their last five.

That record is still better than what the Flyers have managed. They haven’t earned a win since they beat the Boston Bruins on March 23. The best they’ve managed to do since playing the Habs is take a point off the New York Islanders in an overtime loss, still losing ground to the team that has taken their long-held position as the Metropolitan Division’s third seed. Now, with this seven-game winless streak, both the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins have jumped ahead of them in the wild-card race in their division alone.

Canadiens Statistics Flyers
29-36-12 Record 36-31-11
44.9% (29th) Scoring-chances-for % 51.4% (14th)
2.73 (27th) Goals per game 2.85 (26th)
3.40 (26th) Goals against per game 3.15 (19th)
17.5% (26th) PP% 12.7% (32nd)
76.4% (25th) PK% 83.5% (4th)
1-0-1 Head-to-Head Record 1-1-0

A playoff berth isn’t out of the question as the Flyers are only one point out of the final spot, but they need to figure things out in a hurry. They only have four games remaining while the Capitals and Detroit Red Wings (who currently occupy the eighth spot) have five to play. They probably need to win all four of their games to stay in the hunt, and even that may not be enough.

The goaltending that was doing just enough all year long for the Flyers has failed before the regular season could reach its conclusion. Samuel Ersson and newcomer Ivan Fedotov have allowed at least four goals in each of their starts during this disastrous stretch, and Philadelphia’s offence is far from good enough to compensate. Fifteenth in the NHL with a 3.00 goals-against average after beating the Boston Bruins on March 23, Philadelphia has been dead last since with a 4.38 mark; the next-worst team in that time is the Calgary Flames at an even 4.00.

If the Canadiens want to snap their three-game losing streak, their best bet is to get a goal or two early and instill panic in a desperate team. That worked last time as the Flyers never recovered from a two-goal deficit in the first period. The message should be a simple one for this game: test the goaltender early and often. With Cole Caufield on a four-game goal-scoring streak, Nick Suzuki close to netting 35, and Joel Armia one away from setting a new career high, there’s plenty of incentive for players to be thinking offence.

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