Ask the last eight teams the Flyers have faced: sometimes, you run into a red-hot goaltender and a team playing top-notch defense. Sometimes, even if you pepper a guy with 40 or more shots, the bounces don't go your way and you wind up losing the game. For the first time since October 25, the shoe was on the other foot for the orange and black.
For the first time since October 25, the Flyers lost a game in regulation -- a shutout, 3-0 defeat at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens. Carey Price was unbelievable, stopping 41 Flyers shots seemingly without breaking a sweat. No matter how heavy the pressure applied or how many great chances the Flyers were able to generate, it didn't seem to matter.
Every attack was met by either an unreal save by Price or a frustratingly fine defensive play by the Canadiens defense. It happens. It's part of hockey. When you pick up points in ten straight games, its only a matter of time before you hit a brick wall. It happened to the Flyers tonight, and despite the fact that they were playing their second game in as many nights and had arrived in Montreal well after midnight last night, it wasn't as if they played poorly.
No, they certainly didn't deserve the fate they received tonight. Price just forced it down their throats. It happens. More on tonight's game after the jump, including bullets, questions with answers and the comment of the night.
If you're a Habs fan, you should be happy with your team tonight. They looked great. They were opportunistic offensively and superb defensively, from the net out. You shouldn't, however, act like your team somehow just exacted revenge on the Flyers for dispatching them out of the playoffs a few months ago.
Yet that's what the faithful -- which is a loosely-used term since we all, especially Mr. Price, know how unfaithful they can become at the drop of a puck -- at Bell Centre acted like tonight. With their "nah nah, hey hey, goodbye" chants and their Le Booing at every apparent transgression against their beloved Habs, they seemed on the verge of rioting simply because their team turned out an impressive performance against a tired team on November 16.
You know what? Let 'em have it. It's goodbye for now, but we'll see them again on Monday. In Philadelphia, where in victory, we'll act like our team has won a hockey game before.
A few bullet points on tonight's game....
- Did you think you'd hear the name Clint Malarchuk in this recap? The 41 shots on goal were the most by the Flyers in a game in which they were shut out since January 26, 1989, when Malarchuk, then of the Washington Capitals, turned aside 42 Flyers shots in a 1-0 win at the Spectrum.
- Sergei Bobrovsky wasn't the reason the Flyers lost tonight. (In fact, I'd argue that the only reason the Flyers lost tonight was wearing big white pads and a red jersey.) He played just fine, despite a shaky Tomas Plekanec goal against in the second period, but he did look like he could be a bit tired.
- The Habs were really, really trying to be as big and bad as the Flyers in the third period, but they were pretty unsuccessful at it. Darroll Powe laid two huge, clean hits over the course of the game and Maxim Lapierre took exception. They respectfully came to blows in the early stages of the third period, and Powe respectfully put Lapierre on his ass.
- Andrei Kostitsyn took a cheap stick shot to Mike Richards' kidney at one point in the third. When Richards turned around to do something about it, Kostitsyn ducked behind a linesman before P.K. Subban stepped in to protect him. Very typical.
- Jeff Carter hasn't lost a faceoff in two games. He was 5 for 5 last night and he was 8 for 8 tonight. That's impressive.
- The Versus telecast tonight was just absolutely terrible. Not that this is out of the ordinary or anything. (In fairness, there were bright spots. They don't outweigh the bad, though.)
- Mike Richards missed out on a bid tonight to score two goals in three consecutive games. He would have been the first Flyer to accomplish that feat since Reggie Leach did it in October 1981.
- The officiating wasn't the reason the Flyers lost tonight either, but it certainly left a lot to be desired. Most notably on Powe's first big hit on Josh Gorges, they called an elbow. His elbow was clearly down through the hit, and it only came up after Gorges was already on his way down to the ice. It looked bad because Gorges didn't have the slightest clue Powe was coming. I guess we get blamed for that.
- James van Riemsdyk -- who left a lot to be desired himself -- was whistled for a terrible goaltender interference penalty in which he collided with Price after being tripped by Hal Gill. As Ryan Bright pointed out on Twitter, "the only time JVR crashes the net is when he's tripped. Refs should know that."
Questions with Answers
- Does Carcillo's absence and Nodl's insertion on the fourth line hurt the Flyers ability to roll four lines? Yes. Nodl and JVR switched up quite a bit while the other members of the fourth line, Jody Shelley and Blair Betts, didn't see anything close to a regular shift.
- While generally great at home so far this year, the power play left a bit to be desired last night. It's looked kinda bad on the road all season. Any improvement? If the Flyers could've scored on the power play tonight, they could've won the game.
- Carey Price is playing great hockey, as is Sergei Bobrovsky. Who wins the duel? Price.
- Can the Flyers possibly keep this offensive outburst going against a pretty strong Habs team? Nope.
Comment of the Night
POWE! Right in the kisser. POWE! Right in the kisser. POWE! Right in the kisser.