With a 2-0 win yesterday the Philadelphia Flyers are one win away from eliminating the Montreal Canadiens to advance to the next round of the postseason. Fun and exciting aren’t the first words that come to mind to describe this series, but the Orange and Black have figured out something to come away with three of the first four games. In Game 4 it was a perfectly placed shot and a lucky break that separated the Flyers from the Habs on the scoreboard. Let’s see how that happened.
Michael Raffl’s snipe opens the scoring
The play starts with Sean Couturier winning an offensive zone faceoff against Phillip Danault with the puck eventually working its way back to Matt Niskanen. The d-man immediately throws a shot towards Carey Price’s net, but Tomas Tatar does a good job getting in the shooting lane to knock the puck into the left corner. Shea Weber is the first one on the loose puck and is able to finesse a pass around Couturier off the boards.
Ivan Provorov pinches to break up Brendan Gallagher’s bump to Danault which results in the puck gliding out to the left point. Jakub Voracek (who was covering for Provorov) beats Danault to the loose hunk of rubber to keep it in the zone before Gallagher tries to exit the zone with possession but has it knocked away from him by Voracek with the help of Couturier. When the Czech looks for a cross-ice pass the Montreal trio of Danault, Tatar, and Gallagher are all caught on the wrong side of the puck while Weber charges out to the point to hit Voracek.
Raffl kicked a pass to Couturier, who had quickly circled around in the neutral zone to carry the puck into Montreal’s zone. As Couturier swings out through the right circle the play slowly develops into a 2-on-2 with a lot of space and Gallagher filling in for Weber. Couturier drives deep enough into the zone that when he drops a pass back to Raffl at the top of the circle Ben Chiarot is at the right dot with plenty of space between him and the Flyers’ forward. While Chiarot attempts to block Raffl’s shot Gallagher decides to post up in the slot for a rebound before the Austrian winger picks the corner.
- This goal is created by the Flyers’ ability to ruin the Canadiens’ zone exit. Provorov’s breakup of Gallagher’s pass allows Voracek to deny a pair of zone exits by Danault and Gallagher, which results in Montreal’s three forwards all out of position in the neutral zone and pressured Weber into stepping up to keep Voracek from starting a partial odd-man rush.
- That shot is ridiculous. Price is off his angle, and Chiarot and Gallagher could have taken away a little more space, but still. That looked like it was going to be a tough one to stop even if Price was a few inches over to his right.
- Philly has five goals in this series and this is the second one that combined the Flyers’ ability to pressure the Canadiens’ in their own zone and a string of Montreal sloppiness (the other being Joel Farabee’s goal in Game 1). The Canadiens benefited from the opposite combination for a few goals in Game 2 and it should serve as proof that the Orange and Black are now in control of the series. Montreal did a lot right to net five goals on Friday, but a lot of that production was pushed along by the Flyers stringing together mistakes often caused by the Habs’ ability to pressure the puck and provide puck support. This goal was the Flyers going out there and beating the Canadiens at their own game. Outside of an emotionally-charged Game 2 the Habs have failed to overwhelm Philly’s defense into a goal.
Phil Myers proves Price is human
The sequence starts with Travis Sanheim taking the puck away from Tatar below Philly’s goal line. Kevin Hayes pounces on the loose puck in the right corner and sends it up to Travis Konecny, who was able to exit the zone with possession before flinging a cross-ice pass to Myers.
The undrafted defenseman glides into the Canadiens’ zone and travels to the top of the right circle before he flicks a wrister on net that fools Price to double the Flyers’ lead.
- I deserve credit for this goal. Me. That’s right. I, like an idiot, wrote this after Game 3:
‘The Flyers have three goals in the series and all have come off low-danger shots with the help of traffic and redirections in front. A little bit of an oversimplification, but it has been what it takes to put the biscuit past Price. They couldn’t get enough traffic in front of Price in Game 2 (among other issues) and haven’t been able to plop enough people in front of him to register another power-play tally, but the netminder seems to be playing well enough that you can’t hope for anything cheap.’
Then what happened? Seriously though you can’t really go into a game against a goalie like Price and bank on getting some breaks, but when they happen you have to make it count like the Flyers did with the win yesterday.
- There’s no excuse for that puck to go in, but it did hit Brett Kulak’s stick on the way to the net. The slight change in trajectory and path obviously fooled Price on what was otherwise a truly innocent shot.