The stage was certainly set for an entertaining contest when the Flyers visited the Bell Centre on Friday night. A media feeding frenzy over the Habs epic tailspin, and a very public spat between head coach Michel Therrien and star defenseman P.K. Subban had most of the spotlight on Montreal. But for Philadelphia, this game was all about taking advantage of a team in disarray to set their own season back on course.
Despite all the pregame drama, there wasn't much energy or crispness in the opening minutes. Early in the first period, things quickly took a turn for the comical. Nick Schultz opened the scoring, sending a puck off his shin pad and past his own goaltender to give Montreal an early lead. Yet just seconds later, troubled Habs netminder Mike Condon whiffed on a floating Nick Cousins' wrister from long range and the game was tied 1-1. Neither team asserted themselves strongly, but the Flyers had a slight edge in shots, chances, and pressure in my estimation.
That slight advantage turned into a gaping chasm in the second period, with Philly taking a decisive advantage in play. In terms of both 5-on-5 and special teams, the majority of the middle frame was spent in Montreal's end of the ice. A harried Habs team made some inevitable mistakes, leading to two powerplay opportunities for a red-hot Flyers man advantage. However, the top unit looked toothless and was unable to convert or even generate much in the way of extended pressure.
Finally in the third period the Flyers would break through. Michael Raffl capped off a fantastic individual shift with a tap in goal. With a pretty assist on the goal, rookie sensation Shayne Gostisbehere extended his point streak to 14 games. Alas, the lead was short lived after Claude Giroux took his third penalty of the game and Max Pacioretty tied the game at 2-2 on the powerplay. A regulation tiebreaker would not be forthcoming, leading to some heart attack, swamp-ass-inducing 3-on-3 hockey. Glorious, point blank chances were traded either way but somehow nothing found its way to the back of the twine. The dreaded shootout followed and you can guess the results from there.
Flyers fall by a final score of 3-2. As uninspiring as the shootout performance was, special teams has to shoulder most of the blame for this one. An 0-3 performance on the powerplay wasted a surprisingly strong 5-on-5 effort from an injury depleted Philly roster.
- Are the Flyers a mess in the defensive zone tonight, as they've been a lot lately? A few hiccups here and there in regulation, and a terrifying scramble in the OT period BUT certainly not their worst d-zone performance.
- R.J. Umberger had quite possibly his best game of the season last Tuesday against New Jersey. What's he up to in this one? ANOTHER ASSIST! Welcome to Goodberger, home of Goodberger, can I take your order?
- First game for the Habs since P.K. Subban famously screwed up and got chewed out by his coach for it. How does he respond against the Flyers tonight? 2 assists and a poised, and confident performance from a poised and confident player. Though Flyers fans won't be happy with his chin-hunting shoulder on Claude Giroux late in the third period.
- Of course, the last time these teams played, Radko Gudas took out and injured Lucas Lessio on a low hit. Any stupid stuff happen as a result of that? Thankfully, no one will be talking about Radko Gudas after this game.
- Point streak? THE REIGN OF TERROR CONTINUES! 14 games with a point for the man they call Ghost Bear.
Dear Michael Neuvirth……marry me.
Dear Ghost and Raffl…..marry me
>>TheEnglishGirl, Look for your invitations in the mail!