Tonight in Montreal we saw the best possible argument for a “sim to end of season” button for teams that are thoroughly out of it, as the two teams that entered the night 30th and 31st in the standings and both — this is true — carried six-game losing streaks into the night truly went through the motions for an entire game. It ended with a 6-3 Flyers victory.
The most interesting thing that happened, outside of James van Riemsdyk continuing his stretch of maddeningly strong offensive play to close out the season and some of the young guys (including NHL debut-haver Linus Högberg) having some nice moments, was the officials missing a laughably clear handpass that directly created Montreal’s first goal, then incorrectly telling Mike Yeo that he couldn’t challenge it. Were this a game that mattered and had it led to a Flyers loss, this recap would probably just be an extended riot full of torches and pitchforks. Fortunately (fortunately?), neither of those things are the case.
If I haven’t sold it hard enough, go ahead and relive the magic of this one with me as it happened below.
The First Period
- First several minutes definitely look like a game between two teams that have each lost six straight games. One shot on goal for each team as we reach the first commercial break nearly seven minutes in. Experience Philadelphia Flyers hockey.
- James van Riemdsyk is trolling all of us. No possible other explanation. Carey Price mishandles the puck behind the net, and JVR is able to beat him on a second chance as he fails to seal the post. 1-0 Flyers.
- Seems like that woke up the Canadiens, who get three solid chances in the minute or so following that goal.
- But the Flyers will get a power play, courtesy of a nice burst from Owen Tippett. Which of course means that within the first 30 seconds of said power play, the Canadiens get two odd-man rushes. This power play is remarkable. Just incredible.
- They (the Canadiens) got another one (an odd-man rush that they manage to flub) a minute later. If I had it in me to care I would be flabbergasted. That power play is now over.
- Oh man, they’re really gonna do this. Nice shot by Provorov and beats Price high blocker-side. It’s 2-0 with six minutes left in the first.
- Well, OK, they’re not gonna make it that easy.
- Or maybe they are! Looked like Mike Hoffman scores for Montreal after a big scramble in front that began on a great initial save by Martin Jones, but that is a pretty clear handpass by Brendan Gallagher.
- ... OK? They’re not reviewing this? I mean, hell, I could not actually care less if they win this game or not, but if you’re gonna just let that stand, I dunno. The Flyers’ bench looks incredibly confused, guess we’ll find out if Yeo tried to challenge and couldn’t or what.
- And then the Small Goals Boy almost immediately ties it back up but rings it off the pipe.
- The Habs will get their first power play of the game with a minute left, and they’ll get a weird deflection off a Flyer that goes off the crossbar but not in the net. The teams head to the first locker room with the Flyers up 1-0.
- If you were curious, turns out the answer as to “how does that goal count? is just “the refs are very bad at this”.
I’m now told the refs told the Flyers coaching staff they could not challenge that play. Which explains why the Flyers didn’t. And that’s a mistake by the officials. https://t.co/ojq5cVe7a4— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) April 22, 2022
The Second Period
- The period begins with the Habs failing to score on their power play. In an effort to get some momentum back, they then send the Flyers onto the power play as Travis Konecny is hit almost comically far away from the play by Jeff Petry.
- Man ... they just friggin’ stand there for 30 seconds waiting for someone to get open and no one moves and it just ends with a player shooting the puck right into someone’s legs. Wildly uninspiring.
- Aaaaaaaaaaand we’re tied. Lot of traffic in front on a long point shot and a nice deflection by Jake Evans puts it into the net. It’s on, folks.
- Wheeeeeeeeeeeeew. Flyers regain the lead on an angle shot from Oskar and that is a stinky goal for Carey Price to allow, even with some traffic. 3-2.
- Linus Hogberg will get his first career point on that one, as he gets the A2 for getting the puck to ZackMac before Oskar fired it.
- Bobby Brink gets a nice chance on the rush but he’s denied by Price and smoothly falls into the boards. He’s fine.
- Another goal. Another goal! Another goal? I don’t know how to feel at this point. But a nice feed from Ronnie Attard sends TK in alone, and he rips one from the slot that Price should probably have stopped but, instead, did not. 4-2 Flyers.
- Feel like I should have more to say about this game than I do, but also feel like having written this much already about two teams that are clearly very ready for their seasons to end right now is an achievement.
- Two players on the opposing teams who wore the same number got called for the same penalty at the same time. I imagine that has happened before, but there’s a fun statistical oddity in any case. Konecny and Gallagher head to the locker room a bit early for slashing minors and we’ll end the period with some 4-on-4.
- Hoffman gets a chance to beat the buzzer but Jones denies him in tight. 4-2 after 40.
The Third Period
- Kevin Hayes opens up the third period with a decent wraparound chance but it’s knocked off of his stick at the last second.
- Boy, there is just ... nothing going on in this game. Even by the incredibly low standards set for two teams in this point of their sad seasons, this is rough.
- We are halfway through this period and the only nice thing I have to say about it is that it is moving quickly.
- Pretty solid game for Martin Jones, we’ll give him that. Not many WOW saves but he’s been steady.
- Morgan Frost draws a trip at the Habs’ blue line and the Flyers will head back to the power play. If Montreal wants to get back in this game, now feels like their time.
- Almost! Tyler Pitlick (oh hey) gets a shorthanded chance off a great feed from Jeff Petry but it goes off the crossbar and out of play.
- And that’ll end the competitive portion of this game. Great backhand pass from Noah Cates to Frost, who drives the net and taps it past Price to make it 5-2. Cates can stay, he’s been excellet
- OK, JVR is definitely trolling us now. Honestly, really nice takeaway by him in the neutral zone and he just carries it in and rips it himself. Good for him. 6-2 with three minutes to go.
- Spoke too soon about Jones. That’s a pretty terrible goal to give up from Cole Caufield right along the walls. Still 6-3 who cares.
- But that will do it. In what has to be one of the least interesting 6-3 games ever played in the history of the National Hockey League, the Flyers beat the Canadiens 6-3. Some nice moments from some of the young guys, but boy, there was not any juice here at all. This also pretty much sets a floor for the Flyers’ final standings position as no lower than third-worst, so we’ll see how these last four games — three of which are also against not very good teams — go.
Pittsburgh on Sunday afternoon. See you then.