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Flyers 5, Canadiens 3: Top line, power play push Flyers to second straight win

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An early third-period push helped the Flyers break through a fairly even contest to pick up their second conference win in as many games.

Kate Frese / SBNation

On a day in which the Flyers were very much the undercard of the Philadelphia sports scene, the orange and black were able to take care of business against an inferior team, using two early third-period goals to break a second-intermission tie and pick up a 5-3 win at home.

Claude Giroux (one power play goal, two assists) and Travis Konecny (two goals) led the way for the Flyers, as they have often done this season. Shayne Gostisbehere’s three assists also helped matters. In net, Brian Elliott stopped 25 of 28 shots, but made a number of big saves in the third to keep the Flyers far enough ahead as Montreal mounted a comeback effort.

With their win, the Flyers manage to stay in the top half of the East and put a bit more distance between themselves and the teams just below them in the playoff chase, such the Islanders (who lost tonight to Buffalo) and Hurricanes (who did not play tonight), while picking up ground on the Metro’s third-place team, the Devils (who lost tonight in Calgary).

Follow along below and re-live the magic as we react minute-by-minute to the Flyers’ second straight win.

6:51 p.m.: So what’s the atmosphere in this one going to be like? Are people going to be riding high after one of the most exciting afternoons in the history of Philadelphia sports? Or is everyone already Sportsed Out? Or does it not actually matter and the atmosphere will depend entirely on how the Flyers play? Let’s find out.

7:02 p.m.: The Patrick line gets the start tonight, as Voracek-Patrick-Simmonds will take the ice for the opening faceoff alongside Manning, Gudas, and Elliott.

7:08 p.m.: We’re underway here, just as JJ and Clement are talking about how Carey Price had struggled for most of the season but has put it together lately. Wonderful! Just fantastic! Glad we’re facing this team three times this month! Oh well. On to it we go.

7:13 p.m.: First good chance of the game for the Flyers comes courtesy of that Patrick line, as the rookie has a chance in close but doesn’t cash in on it. Habs have been getting the better of the action so far, forcing a couple of turnovers at the blue lines and keeping the Flyers off the attack.

7:15 p.m.: But the Flyers will now get an extended chance on the attack, as Tomas Plekanec (man, that dude has been around in Montreal forever, eh?) is called for holding and the guys in orange get the game’s first power play.

7:18 p.m.: Best chances on that (unsuccessful) power play came from the second unit, as once again Patrick was taking some shots from in close that were denied. Back to evens we go, after Hagg is denied (after the power play expires) on a one-timer from the top of the circle.

7:21 p.m.: Giroux bumps Nikita Scherbak off the puck in the offensive zone. That’s a no-no, and he’ll go to the box as it’s now the Flyers who have to kill a penalty.

7:23 p.m.: Very nice penalty kill by the Flyers. One decent chance early, but nothing doing at all after that.

7:24 p.m.: Good shift by ...

/rubs eyes

... Filppula and Lehtera? Sure. Sure. Why not. Philly Sports are on a heater today, anyways. Naturally, though, that good shift did not result in a goal for the Flyers. Do we think Lehtera is going to score any goals this year? He’s got some 30 games left to do it. He has to, right? We’ll see. Anyways, we’re still scoreless at the second commercial break.

7:28 p.m.: We get our first E-A-G-L-E-S chant (well, at least the first one that they showed on TV) of the game coming out of that commercial break. Wonder what the over/under is on those before the game ends.

7:30 p.m.: Third line’s turn to go in a bit. Raffl nearly gets there on a drive to the net, and Laughton quickly follows up with a good chance on a shot that doesn’t go.

7:31 p.m.: With that same line out, Gudas fires a shot from the point that Price can’t quite handle, and Weal whacks away at the rebound but Price keeps the pads down. Best shift of the game for the Flyers so far, probably.

7:32 p.m.: And that’s quickly followed up by the best shift of the game for the Canadiens so far. Four shots on or around Brian Elliott there, a couple at point-blank range, but he shuts the last one down to keep things scoreless.

7:39 p.m.: Great play by Raffl to cut off a potential breakaway pass in the neutral zone, and he nearly goes on to spring Laughton on a chance the other way, but Laughton is called offside. Things have slowed down a bit in the past couple of minutes.

7:40 p.m.: And just as I say that, Patrick and Simmonds go in on a 2-on-1, but the former’s pass bounces a bit on the latter and they can’t get a shot away.

7:41 p.m.: Max Pacioretty is taken down in the waning seconds of the period before he can get a good chance off, and we’ll head to the first intermission with no goals either way.

7:48 p.m.: Shots on goal were 10-9 Flyers, while total attempts (via Natural Stat Trick) were 21-19 Canadiens. At 5-on-5, the Canadiens led 16-15 in attempts. Pretty even period, not a ton in the way of high-quality chances.

8:00 p.m.: We’re underway in the second, and we need less than 10 seconds before Brandon Manning mishandles a puck near the net and it dribbles out in front of Elliott. No harm done, though.

8:02 p.m.: We got a hockey goal! Beeeeeeeeautiful passing sequence that starts from center ice following a neutral zone turnover goes Provorov to Ghost to Couturier to Giroux to Konecny, the last of whom taps the puck past Price. Put your best line and best pairing on the ice and some good things will happen. 1-0, the Flyers.

8:04 p.m.: Weal gets a chance on the shift following the goal, and that’s shortly followed by an iffy defensive shift by the Patrick line.

8:06 p.m.: Here’s the goal. It’s very nice. You should watch it!

8:09 p.m.: Gostisbehere breaks up a rush by Montreal, Provorov quickly pushes the puck the other way for an odd-man chance, and Giroux cuts toward the slot and gets tripped by Plekanec. Some good hockeying happening there, and the Flyers will be back on the power play for it.

8:12 p.m.: An eye-popping passing sequence gives Simmonds a wonderful chance right in front, but Price gets there to shut it down. Damn. Then the Habs get a shorthanded 2-on-1 and Elliott, after backing up pretty far into his net, is able to fall on it before a dangerous rebound spits out.

8:15 p.m.: The power play is over annnnnnnnnd now it’s right back on! Byron Froese slashes Michael Raffl and the Flyers will get another chance to double their lead.

8:17 p.m.: Oh man that’s some Flyers shit right there. A Montreal PKer sends the puck out of play, but the officials deem that it was deflected and as such no penalty is called, even though replays seem to suggest that it was not in fact deflected. Then, Artturi Lehkonen picks Jakub Voracek’s pocket right at center ice, goes in on a breakaway, and picks a corner on Elliott to tie the game up at 1 with a shortie. No good. No good, I say.

8:18 p.m.: Hey now! That’s good! A Giroux wrister from the circle and the Flyers erase the shortie with a power play goal of their own, and we’ve got the lead back just 28 seconds after the Canadiens forge a tie.

8:20 p.m.: The goal. Simmonds nearly got a stick on this, but he’ll have to settle for knowing he put down a good screen while Giroux will get credit for this one.

8:23 p.m.: Gaaaaah Giroux and Couturier just barely miss connecting at the net, which is a shame because there was a whole lot of net there for Coots to put that puck into.

8:26 p.m.: Patrick called for holding along the boards, and the Flyers will have to kill a penalty to keep this game tied.

8:28 p.m.: And they do that with little issue. Highlight of that was Andrew MacDonald — you heard me! — nearly starting a rush up-ice the other way, only to see the sequence called down due to an offsides.

8:33 p.m.: Multiple failed clears there by the Flyers lead to maybe their longest defensive shift of the period so far, but Montreal can’t beat Elliott and no harm is done.

8:35 p.m.: And harm has been done. More defensive-zone errors kept giving Montreal more chances, and one Radko Gudas turnover and some additional chaos later, Logan Shaw beats Elliott and we’re tied at 2 with 1:11 remaining in the second period.

8:37 p.m.: Tomas Plekanec hooks Dale Weise (of all people?) for his third penalty of the night, and the Flyers will get to the power play for the period’s final 38 seconds and, likely, the first 1:22 of the third period.

8:38 p.m.: Nothing doing in the first part of that power play, and we’ll head to the locker room 2-2 after a period that was simultaneously boring and eventful. Flyers just couldn’t get the puck out of their own end in the time after Giroux’s go-ahead goal, and that’s going to need to change.

8:43 p.m.: Shots on goal are 17 apiece. But after a pretty even first 35 or so minutes, Montreal really started throwing the hammer down in the last few minutes of that period. Gameflow map tells that story pretty well:

via Natural Stat Trick

8:57 p.m.: Off we go in the third, as the Flyers will open up shop with an abbreviated power play.

8:57 p.m.: That did not take long! A couple of passes across the ice end up on Jake Voracek’s stick, and his shot bounces off of Price’s mask, off the crossbar and post, and into the net. Flyers get the lead back, and can hopefully use that goal to stem the tide a bit.

8:59 p.m.: That’s not exactly what happens, as a scramble ensues directly to Brian Elliott’s left and Montreal nearly ties things up just as quickly as they lost the lead.

9:00 p.m.: Chicken dance song is playing! Long shot by Gostisbehere dribbles through Price’s pads so slowly that no one noticed it, and Travis Konecny beats everybody to the puck and taps it over the goal line. 4-2, The Flyers. Things have turned quickly. I’m here for it!

9:04 p.m.: You wanna watch a goal? Hell yeah you do! Here’s a goal.

9:14 p.m.: Game has slowed down a bit, which is very much fine for a team that has a two-goal lead.

9:15 p.m.: And just like that, the Laughton line — which has been fantastic tonight, even though it hasn’t shown up on the scoreboard just yet — has a top-line-esque passing sequence that leads to a great shot by Raffl, but he’s shut down by Price.

9:19 p.m.: Shortly after a Giroux shot off the crossbar that appears to have been tipped by Price, we’ll get some 4-on-4 hockey. Jonathan Drouin will go off for tripping, while Konecny (the trippee to Drouin’s trip) is off for “unsportsmanlike conduct”, which in all likelihood means diving.

9:22 p.m.: A couple of glove saves by Elliott — one on Pacioretty, a later one on Galchenyuk — highlights the 4-on-4 for the Flyers, who were very much on some Keystone Cops shit during that sequence. Easily the best pressure Montreal has had in this period, and the Flyers will be glad to have extra men back on the ice.

9:29 p.m.: Gotta make things interesting here, don’t we? Laughton is called for holding with 3:30 left. We’ll likely see Montreal pull Price soon.

9:30 p.m.: Out he goes annnnnnd out goes the two-goal lead with him. Gallagher is uncovered in front, he tips a pass past Elliott’s shoulder, and we’ve got 2:54 left in regulation and a one-goal lead. Buckle up, folks.

9:31 p.m.: MacDonald immediately ices the puck following the ensuing faceoff. This is fine. Everything’s fine.

9:33 p.m.: Price is off again with just under two minutes left. Hold on to your butts.

9:34 p.m.: Butts are held! Ivan Provorov with the empty-netter from way downtown (his own goal line)! Hey, wait a min—

Sports are good! And we even got a goalie assist on that one, as Brian Elliott gets the one helper for his first point as a Flyer! How fun!

9:35 p.m.: And that’ll do it! The Flyers, in the most noteworthy Philadelphia sports development of the day, win 5-3 for their second victory in a row and remain in a playoff spot. They’ll now head out west for a weekend back-to-back with Arizona and Vegas. Go Birds. And Flyers. Go Flyers.