The Flyers started the night with a chance to inch closer to a playoff spot and damage a team in front of them in that chase, but in the end it was the Flyers left hurting and in more ways than one.
Much like the flu that has ravaged through the Flyers’ locker room (and stomachs), the Canadiens skated circles around the Flyers to secure a 3-1 win on Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
Suffice to say it was another crappy night for the Flyers. Here’s what happened in great detail.
Another night and another body claimed by the flu bug for the Flyers, who were without the services of impressive rookie defenseman Philippe Myers in this one. That’s after missing Ryan Hartman over the weekend and nearly losing Claude Giroux against the Penguins on Sunday night.
Montreal nearly started the scoring as Brett Kulak blasted a slap shot off the post to the left of Carter Hart less than three minutes in. Good news is that does not count, and given the importance of the game and the first goal, a huge break already for the Flyers.
Hart would get another break in the first six minutes, getting a quick whistle after he had issues corralling a Shea Weber point shot. A couple Habs converged but the whistle had been blown with the puck appearing to be loose in front of Hart.
There was not much fun happening out there with four shots apiece through the first 11 minutes of game time. Looked a whole lot like two teams on the outside of the playoff hunt desperately trying to not make their hole any deeper.
Montreal should have had the first goal with 5:30 left in the first, but Hart came up with a dandy pair of saves to keep things scoreless. First Hart denied a Jeff Petry shot then got over for the massive pad stop on Kulak’s rebound attempt. Not long after he was tasked with a big save as Jesperi Kotkaniemi blew past the defense but couldn’t slide one past the old five hole. After a somewhat shaky start, Hart rebounded with some big saves in the latter half of the period.
But alas we spoke too soon as the Canadiens would solve Hart with 1:39 left in the period with Brendan Gallagher firing home a loose puck in front to make it 1-0. Former Flyers great Christian Folin got the puck to the net and it found the stick of the Habs’ now 31-goal man.
The lone goal of the first period. pic.twitter.com/UfR1XGOiwr— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) March 19, 2019
AFTER 20: Canadiens 1, Flyers 0
Strong start to the second for the Flyers with a couple good shifts. After just eight shots in the first, getting pucks towards Price’s cage looked to be an early priority.
But that quick start would be it, as those two shots the Flyers managed during the first minute would be the only ones of the next four minutes as the Canadiens pushed back.
Shea Weber would then really smash back, ripping a slap shot through traffic in front and past Hart to give Montreal a 2-0 lead just 4:45 into the second. The puck nearly inched over the blue line for an offsides call, but Weber kept it in and got enough behind the shot to beat Hart.
A bomb by Weber has the Flyers down by 2. pic.twitter.com/rf3tspYeqD— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) March 20, 2019
Through the midway point of the game there just wan’t much happening from the Flyers offensively in the form of high-danger chances. Tight checking from the Canadiens really hamstrung the Flyers in the neutral zone and then even more in the offensive zone before getting to Price. Even when there was room, the passes weren’t crisp and often hopped over sticks, falling out of harms way.
Not the prettiest hockey the Flyers have played recently by any means, folks.
Carter Hart was holding it down at the other end, denying Nate Thompson after a quick rush up ice by the Habs that included a centering pass from former Flyer Jordan Weal. Given the Flyers’ lack of offense to that point, keeping Montreal away from a third goal was paramount for Hart.
The good news was that Hart would keep the Canadiens at two goals after two, but the bad news was that the Flyers still hadn’t solved Carey Price at the other end.
AFTER 40: Canadiens 2, Flyers 0
Desperate for a goal to pull within one, Shayne Gostisbehere rang one of the post to the left of Price a little under four minutes in. Price was well screened on the shot but the veteran got help much like his opposing number Carter Hart got earlier on.
Things were quiet as the Habs made sure to get pucks deep once they crossed the red line to make life difficult for the Flyers to generate any type of offense. It would be a great individual effort from James van Riemsdyk to draw the first penalty of the game with 12:33 left in a fast-moving third period. JVR dangled around Folin, who then dragged him down.
On the ensuing power play JVR would hit the goal post himself on a nice chance down low, but again it doesn’t count. JVR saw Price go for the poke check, but went with a quick shot that nearly got the Flyers on the board.
But the the Flyers would soon finally break through, and with a familiar face (and smile) doing the honors.
With 11:18 left, Sean Couturier rammed home a rebound in front of Price to make it 2-1 Montreal. It’s the 30th of the season for Couturier, who remains red-hot, assisted by Giroux and JVR.
GERALD GOES BAR DOWN! pic.twitter.com/wIO05KPwdA— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) March 20, 2019
Just as big an issue as the Flyers’ still one goal deficit being the fact that they really couldn’t afford to give a team ahead of them points either. Needing at least two goals in the final 10 minutes being a tall task.
Sensing points possibly slipping away late, the Canadiens really turned up the pressure defensively down the stretch as the officials also turned up their *Jay Cutler voice* Donntttt careeeee as the third winded down and some real tom foolery going on out there.
With 1:48 left Flyers coach Scott Gordon would pull Hart in favor of the extra skater, desperate for at least a tying goal. As was the case all night, a Canadien beat the Flyers to a loose puck and Max Domi put the finishing touches on a 3-1 lead with 1:05 left.
That would be your final as the Flyers fall in a must-win game that they absolutely needed to have to keep their minimal playoff hopes alive.
FINAL: Canadiens 3, Flyers 1