Now for something completely different, the Flyers and Canadiens got together and played a pretty normal hockey game on Wednesday evening in Toronto.
Though this shift made for an infinitely more conventionally entertaining game than the anti-hockey that was played for three of the first four games in this series, it was ultimately not a good thing for the Flyers, who had thrived in the strange, stagnant stasis of previous games in the series, in which they had amassed a 3-1 lead despite only scoring five goals.
Though the Flyers led for a bit and tied it up midway through the third, the Canadiens won Game 5 by the score of 5-3 to force a sixth game, the first time the Canadiens have successfully forced a sixth game in their three series against the Flyers this millennium.
Bullet points, shall we?
- Very disorientingly, given what had happened for the majority of this postseason for the Flyers, in this game there were penalties that led to power plays that led to scoring, for both teams.
- Opening the scoring was a shorthanded goal by Joel Armia, one of three tallies tonight by men named Joel. That’s a lot of Joel goals. Xavier Ouellet banked a shot hard off the lively back boards and the Flyer defensemen were slow to react to the carom, and Armia was able to bury a pretty unontested shot past Carter Hart.
- Thus ended Carter Hart’s shutout streak at 122:53. More on him later.
- Egregiously, the Flyers had, at this point, now given up as many goals on their power play as they had scored, at 1-for-20. But a five-minute major in the second period on Jesperi Kotkaniemi for boarding nice boy Travis Sanheim and bloodying him all up put the Flyers on a five-minute power play that they seemed to know what to do with.
- Voracek, specifically, had his act together here, scoring on a one-timer from above the dot to level the game at 1-1 thanks to a deflection by Ben Chiarot (who would have a much cooler name if it was Ben Chariot. I know it, you know it, he knows it).
- Once more Voracek scored near the end of the lengthy power play to give the Flyers their first lead of the game, 2-1. And given what the Flyers have been able to do with leads in these playoffs, I sort of thought it was over.
- Tragically, it was not even close to over. The second of three Joel goals (goels?) was then scored by Armia, who chipped the puck over the shoulder of Hart to level it at 2-2.
- Egregiously, Nick Suzuki added insult to insult by giving Hart a lil’ pat on the head. It was mean and not nice and he’s a big meanie.
- Veritable guano parfait Brendan Gallagher then scored a power play goal after a double minor call on Phil Myers of the Phil. Flyers to put the Canadiens up 3-2. The Canadiens then appeared to have gone up 4-2 quickly after on what would have been a very soft goal against Carter hart, but it was overturned due to offsides.
- Offsides or not, though, there’s no doubt Carter Hart was shaky tonight, begging the question (probably only to me) if it made sense to have him play both legs of the back-to-back. I think no? Brian Elliott has proven to be a super duper nifty goalie himself lately, looking sharp in relief in Game 2 and against the Caps in round-robin.
- To his credit, Carter Hart looked ready to give up himself during the challenge, trying to get onto the bench, but Alain Vigneault mussed his hair and told him to get back out there and do it for all the folks back home who didn’t raise no quitter. (This isn’t exactly what happened verbatim, but it appeared to be more or less the tone.
- Ending the Joel goels for the night was Joel Farabee, who scored a third(!) power play goal for the Flyers midway through the third period off of a great feed from Voracek. There probably should have been a penalty shot instead of a power play after Kevin Hayes got hauled down from behind, but in the end a goal is a goel is a Joel.
- Very quickly after, 22 seconds to be exact, Nick Suzuki scored to put the Canadiens back up 4-3. Voracek, who had had a great night, took a penalty late that hurt the Flyers chances of equalizing and they did not. What also didn’t help the Flyers chances was the increasingly terrible ice, which was exhausted from more than nine periods of play. For better or worse, Flyers-Canadiens could well be the only series to go six games in the Toronto bubble if the Islanders win on Thursday. Either way, they’ll have the day to themselves on Friday.
- Other than Voracek, who had a good game tonight for the Flyers, you may ask? I don’t really know. Not Konecny, who was notably left off the ice during the fading moments.
- To put a positive spin on Hart’s play, we could say he has yet to turn in a middle of the road performance in these playoffs.
- Ending the game was Phillip Danault who scored an empty netter with 18 seconds left. Then further unpleasantries ensued. Fellas cross checked fellas, unfriendly things were said, and Brendan Gallagher continued to have super bloody teeth and lips (gingivitis is no joking matter, folks).
This team is very good at winning after they’ve lost. Game 6 is on Friday. Go Flyers.