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Flyers top Canadiens, 2-1, take series lead behind Carter Hart

27 saves for the Flyers’ netminder as he outduels Carey Price for a 1-0 series lead.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Montreal Canadiens at Philadelphia Flyers Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Early action in the form of a 2-on-1 for Kevin Hayes and Travis Konecny about a minute in, but the play was broken up with by the Canadiens’ defense without a scoring chance to note.

No major scoring chances in the first five minutes as both teams felt each other out a bit though the Flyers’ second line of Konecny, Hayes and Scott Laughton sure was flying on their shifts.

With 12:41 left in the first the Flyers would earn the first power play of the night and series with Jonathan Drouin picking up a slashing call on Claude Giroux. They were 0-for-11 on the power play during the round-robin phase.

And the Flyers would take advantage as Ivan Provorov unleashed a bomb through a heavy screen and past Carey Price to make it 1-0 with 11:06 left.

Best chance of the period for Montreal on a broken play in front of Carter Hart, but Artturi Lehkonen’s backhand bid went wide after a turnover from Matt Niskanen led to the anxious moment.

But Montreal would follow later with a strong shift as Hart needed to stand tall with 3:46 left with a litter of bodies in front, making a few stops in close as the puck stayed loose out in front of his crease.

Tensions with 1:19 left in the periods as Derek Grant got rocked into Price, resulting in a few shots from the netminder to the back of Grant’s head while the Flyers forward tried to fish himself out of the net.

Provorov’s power play tally was the lone goal in the period as the Flyers took a 1-0 lead through 20 minutes while outshooting the Canadiens 11-5.

Early big save from Hart to begin the second with a dandy pad save on a quick Lehkonen backhand attempt to keep the Flyers’ lead intact.

That’d be a sign of things to come as the Canadiens’ top line would hem the Flyers’ fourth line and third defensive pair in not long after and nearly find an equalizer. Thankfully Hart was up to the task and able to finally cover and get tired bodies off the ice before it was too late.

At the other end Claude Giroux fired one off the post behind Price to come oh so close to giving the Flyers a two-goal lead less than five minutes into the second.

That would be the bulk of the pressure towards Price as the Canadiens took advantage of a bevy of Flyers turnovers to tilt the ice towards Hart. As Montreal pushed the Flyers were in survival mode for much of the middle portion of the period.

Golden chance missed for the Flyers with a little over seven minutes left in the second as Laughton had an empty net —or so it would seem— but his one-timer appeared to glance off Nick Suzuki, but was really somehow tipped by Carey Price mid-air.

Not to be outdone by his idol, Paul Byron would find that Hart wasn’t about to lose his lead and matched Price’s handy work with a piece of his own at the other end on the ensuing shift.

With 6:16 left in the period Montreal would head to their first power play of the night with Nicolas Aube-Kubel off for holding. The Canadiens went 0-for-12 during their qualifying series win over the Penguins.

Montreal would capitalize with Shea Weber using his heavy shot to create a rebound and pounce on it to even things at 1-1 with 5:22 left in the frame.

But things wouldn’t stay even long as Joel Farabee would give the Flyers the lead right back as Joel Farabee pounced on a rebound in front of Price just 16 seconds later off a Montreal turnover to make it 2-1 Philadelphia.

Goals from Weber for Montreal and Farabee for the Flyers, who took a 2-1 lead through 40 minutes.

Price returns the favor of Hart’s big save to open the second with one his own on Hayes to begin the third after a Canadiens turnover right out to the slot.

Little 4-on-4 action six minutes into the period as Max Domi grabbed Farabee after the play was blown dead and naturally both were given matching roughing minors because of course. But great work from Provorov earned the Flyers a power play as he got dumped by Lehkonen shortly in.

Nothing was doing as time expired on the truncated power play and left 10 minutes and some change left separating the Flyers from from a game 1 win.

Ben Chiarot gave the Flyers a big power play chance with 8:34 left soon after, providing a chance to extend the lead to two with precious time salting away. But the power play would come and go without much danger as Montreal kept it a one-goal game.

Nate Thompson, in the lineup for his veteran presence —and clearly not his offensive attributes— had the game on his stick. No dice.

Good work from the Flyers late in regulation kept the puck in the neutral zone as Hart came up with another big save with over two minutes left.

With 1:25 left Price finally exited his net as Montreal was in search of a tying goal in desperation. Suzuki nearly had it too, but his rising shot through a screen rang off the crossbar and out of play.

That would be all as the Flyers turned aside last ditch efforts as Farabee’s goal stands up as the game-winner and a final of 2-1.