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Canadiens 5, Flyers 1: Well, that was less than ideal

Remember when people thought Fletcher wouldn’t sell?

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

1. BREAKING: Carter Hart is in fact human

To be fair, this was bound to happen at some point. Stating the obvious here, but Carter Hart did not look good last night. The first goal was simply a shot that he should have stopped, and it looked like he got caught cheating to the short side more then he should have. The second goal is hard to fault Hart on, since Travis Sanheim - who we’ll talk about shortly - got absolutely walked by Paul Byron, who found Jesperi Kotkaniemi for the go-to goal in EA NHL, a 2-on-1 cross ice one timer to the side the goalie’s coming from. As it was described in the BSH slack chat last night: a real life glitch goal.

If there is anything we can fault Hart on for that second goal, it’s positioning I guess. But, let’s be real, that would be nitpicking a goal that primarily happened because the defense broke down. The third goal however... that’s a different story. The Flyers kept Montreal to the outside with strong pressure from Robert Hagg on Brendan Gallagher, but it wasn’t enough. Gallagher’s attempt to get a puck on net turned into a puck in the back of the net, as it somehow found its way through Hart. No ifs, ands, or buts about it, he has to make that save. It looked like he had the post sealed well, but upon further inspection he definitely left just enough of a gap.

Now, does this mean Carter Hart is now all of a sudden a bad goalie? No, and if you think that I kindly request you delete your account and get off the line. However, this is the most adversity Hart is facing since his struggles with the Phantoms at the beginning of the season. There’s a thought that Hart is simply tired from the heavy workload he’s faced under Scott Gordon, however his four seasons with Everett in the WHL, all with relatively heavy workloads makes me doubt this. Now of course, a heavier workload in the NHL is an entirely different story than the same workload in the WHL, but but his being tired doesn’t feel like the likely scenario in my opinion.

2. Rough game for the top pairing

Travis Sanheim getting walked in the opening minutes for the game’s second goal was bad, and it didn’t get much better for him and his partner Ivan Provorov. These two have been spectacular together since they were joined at the hip, but this may have been the worst of their performances together. Despite being split up for a brief moment when Phil(!) Myers spent just over two minutes of ice time with Provorov, Sanheim and Provorov spent most of the game together and most of it in their own zone.

Again, this game doesn’t mean these two should be split up in the future. Along with Radko Gudas, these two have been steady as can be together and both have improved greatly while paired. Provorov, who struggled at the beginning of the season, started to look more and more like his old self with Sanheim on his right side and the results have reflected that. This was an overall bad game by pretty much everyone, but it’s disappointing nonetheless when the top pairing struggles as well.

3. The two defensemen who didn’t struggle

In just his second NHL game, in one of the toughest places to play in the entire league in Montreal, Philippe Myers looked as cool as can be. Myers and defense partner Shayne Gostisbehere were the lone positives out of last night’s debacle, posting the two best Corsi-for percentages. Gostisbehere lead the way with a 78.38, with Myers not too far behind at 71.43. For Myers especially, this was extremely impressive. We’ve seen Gostisbehere begin to look like the Ghost of old lately, but for a kid making just his second NHL start, this was a bit of a shock.

Not only did the pairing dominate the overall possession game, they dominated in shot quality as well. The two each had 12 scoring chances for to just one against, and five high danger chances for to none against. Sure, they did this primarily against the bottom six of the Canadiens, and started the majority of their shifts in the offensive zone, but it’s still impressive. With Radko Gudas out one more game for his high stick on Nikita Kucherov, Myers has another opportunity to earn a lot more playing time.

4. Big game Brendan Gallagher, and Carey Price

If there was one player who really dominated this game for Montreal outside of Carey Price, it was Brendan Gallagher. The man they call Gally scored a hat trick for Montreal and posted the third best Corsi percentage at a 66.67. Gallagher went off for the Habs last night, but this is a much different game if Carey Price isn’t in net for Montreal. Price stood on his head for the Canadiens and refused to let the Flyers back in the game. Generally, the Flyers performed well in regards to shot quality, which made Price’s job harder than it may appear.

They almost broke even with the Habs in scoring chances-for and actually beat them in high danger chances-for. Montreal out shot Philadelphia 40-30, and lead the overall shot attempt battle 60-48. There were many things that went wrong for the Flyers in this game, but Price and Gallagher being as good as they were is what had this game get out of hand for the Flyers.

5. Brian Elliott looked good!

In what was really the only other positive outside of Phil Myers and Shayne Gostisbehere, Brian Elliott was strong in relief of Carter Hart. He allowed just two goals on 30 shots, and kept this game from getting even more out of hand then it already did. This was honestly the most ideal thing to happen for Brian Elliott in the hopes the Flyers can deal him as well before the trade deadline. He settled the game down and made it about as respectable a loss as he possibly could have, in only his second appearance since returning from injury.

The hope now is, that this game prompts a team to give up more for a guy like Elliott who can still be a very capable backup in this league. This may have been his final game in a Flyers jersey, and if so, he turned in one last solid performance before his departure.

All data courtesy of Natural Stat Trick

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