Flyers 1, Canadiens 0: Back on top, baby!

That’s six wins in a row!

And that’s all, folks! That’ll close out the series against the Canadiens for the season. It feels like not too long ago that we were looking at the Canadiens, and that’s probably because it wasn’t. The Flyers and the Habs met at home just under two weeks ago, and it was all late-game heroics to wrap up a win for the Flyers.

Tonight had all the makings of a trap game—with the Habs having lost seven of their last eight games, and down a center and one Carey Price—and as such went just about as expected. The Flyers had the chance to wrap the game up early, but took it down to the wire, in this case to the shootout, giving us all heart palpitations for a while there.

But hey, first in the Metro feels pretty nice, eh?

The Flyers started things off by controlling the puck and moving things around and then-- oh my god something’s happening here! Pacioretty tripped Konecny and sent him flying, and now Ghost is trying to take him to task. The Flyers have a chance on the power play. OK.

This first power play was, um, not excellent. The first unit struggled through their shift as they found the puck knocked away from them and their entries disrupted. The second unit hit their shift with a better chance, in that they were able to sustain a bit of time in the zone, but ultimately found the puck cleared out of the zone. And just like that, the power play ticked down to fewer than ten seconds remaining, and then it was gone.

Back at even strength, the Flyers got back to work, trying to finally get some offensive pressure going. A backhand attempt by Patrick was the start of their push, as they worked to get moving around the zone with a bit of speed, to get back on track.

But then the Canadiens took the puck the other way for some sustained offense of their own, carrying the puck into the zone and chipping at the puck in front of the net, but Mrazek was able to control, and get the puck back to the Flyers, to have it carried the other way again.

Are we picking up on the tone already? We’ve got some speed and we’re running and gunning. I’m gonna get whiplash or something. Oh dear.

The Patrick line slowed things down for a moment, keeping the puck controlled in the zone, and cycling around with some speed. The shift saw shot attempts from Gostisbehere, from Patrick, fron Lindblom, but none would go. They just couldn’t break through, and the Canadiens were finally able to clear, but it was one of their most dangerous looking shifts of the game, so far.

And this was the story that carried over across the tv timeout into the second half of the period—the Flyers doing well to largely control the puck in the zone but couldn’t seem to convert on their chances. Big sigh on that, fam.

And another one of those! A beautiful rush! A lovely chance! Let’s watch it!

This chance, or course, was broke up. But I’d like to take back what I said earlier, that was the best chance of the night so far.

The Flyers’ fourth line got another chance in the zone, but a Provorov turnover at the blue line saw the Canadiens (charging) into the Flyers’ zone, with a close chance by Pacioretty, but the Flyers were able to neutralize it. And with one more defensive zone faceoff with under a minute to go in the period, we saw the Flyers move the puck into the offensive zone, taken away, and recovered just in time to hear the buzzer. And off to intermission we went.

AFTER ONE: Flyers 0, Canadiens 0. Shots 10-3

Back from the first intermission, the Flyers picked up right where they left off, controlling the puck in the zone off the opening faceoff.

But they hit a bit of danger after looking good for a hot second! The Habs intercepted the puck and brought it into the Flyers’ zone for two point-blank chances while Ghost then Konecny were both without a stick. But Mrazek came up big, stopping both chances, and giving them a chance to clear.

Anyway, the Flyers recovered from the Habs’ push with one of their own, with the Laughton and Couturier lines getting a handful of nice enough looks, before the Canadiens iced the puck, earning them another offensive zone draw. And the top line got to work again with another shot, a clear into the neutral zone, and then an allowance for another chance for the Patrick line. It was a rush led by Voracek, and a pass to Lindblom that nearly had him his first NHL goal, had he not run out of room and had the puck stopped. But, oh boy, he was so close.

And the Flyers had a chance to redeem themselves, as they got their second power play of the evening, after De La Rose was called for interfering with Giroux. It was a better look for the first unit, with them able to control the puck easily in the zone and generate a couple of very close chances, but none would go. It didn’t leave much time for the second unit to work with, and they weren’t able to get it done either. So no redemption this time. None to be had. Still no score.

In an incredibly on-brand sequence, the Patrick line put up another very nice shift in the offensive zone, getting again so close but failing to close. And then, after all that good work, two Flyers were upended and the Canadiens took the puck, leaving Provorov all alone to defend against an odd-man rush. But he did so masterfully, skating them past the net and leaving them with no choice but to sail the puck past the net. Another save by Mrazek kept things tied, still, as he flexed his speed and rebound control.

And just as the Canadiens looked like they were starting to really spark something, they had a chance to kick it up another notch, when a tripping call on Provorov sent them to their first power play of the night. After two initial clears, Mrazek was left to fend off a shot by Gallagher, but did so with ease, getting the puck back to the Flyers for another clear. Their last minute saw the Habs sustaining their pressure and chipping away in close to the net, but Mrazek shut them down, as no easy feat. But somehow the Flyers survived the late onslaught and made it back to five-on-five.

And his work wasn’t done. And this one is easier shown than told. I need to catch my breath.

The final minutes of the period saw the Flyers scrambling as Montreal sunk in to their new, increased register, just managing to keep them tied up until the buzzer sounded, and they went off with the chance to regroup.

AFTER TWO: Flyers 0, Canadiens 0. Shots 18-18

OK. We’re back. It’s the third period and the Flyers need to do something other than whatever they were doing the first two periods. Do a good thing, please.

They started well enough in that the first line was able to nearly generate a solid look on their first shift, but less well in that they managed to ice the puck twice in the first  minute and a half. Which is not what I meant when I said that they should be doing a good thing. Thank a lot, guys.

But they seemed to get back on track, as after this they kicked off a series of rushes for the top two lines, which saw them controlling the puck each time it was cleared, working to make a push into the zone and put shots on net but, well, you know the rest. You watched this game. Or you read this far. You get it. The shots did not go.

And another Flyers chance! It’s Weise on the breakaway! He got a shot off but it was stopped! And he went sliding into the net! I don’t know why I’m using so many exclamation points! There are no goals to get excited about so I have to direct them somewhere!

A breakdown in the Flyers’ end after the next draw saw the puck skipping away from Mrazek, a wide open net, and a shot (mercifully) sailing wide of it. Big, big yikes.

And then, and then ... uh … I’m not really sure. I spaced out for approximately seven seconds and the broadcasters are saying something about Lehtera being an All Star. What even is happening. I have no answers. I just … ???

Let’s just move on. The top line brought the next nice rush after the commercial break, with a centering pass by Konecny to Couturier for a tip-in attempt in the crease, but, yes, this too was stopped. But the first line continued in their solid efforts, doing all the work.

But, oh, will you look at that! Voracek’s drawn a tripping penalty on Drouin and the Flyers have their third power play of the night! Let’s go!

The top unit again looked sharp from the start, with an initial chance that was deflected off Patrick’s skate and out of the zone. This would prove the unit’s best chance in their time on the ice, and on came the second unit. They brought a bit of nice movement and a shot from Provorov, but this was about it. Another power play expired, sans goal.

We’re down to three and a half minutes to go and we are still without a goal. The Flyers found themselves hemmed into their zone, looking to make a rush into the zone, but were held up at the blue line. The puck was turned the other way and Mrazek was left to make another huge glove save to keep the Flyers from the deficit.

The final minute saw the first line making a push in the zone, then Galchenyuk on a rush of his own left for Gostisbehere to break up. And with one brief cycle around the zone, regulation came to a close and we have still not seen one hockey goal.

AFTER THREE: Flyers 0, Canadiens 0

The Flyers started overtime with the Giroux-Voracek-Gostisbehere trio, who controlled the puck off the opening faceoff, saw a shot by Voracek, and then saw them hemmed into their own zone, only barely able to keep them stopped, stuck on the ice and gassed.

Finally they got the change to get Couturier, Konecny, and Provorov out. It was a dangerous chance with Konecny getting robbed and the Flyers left goalless. And they played on.

The Habs got things moving in the other direction with speed, threatening Mrazek, but he was able to make a massive save on Danault to keep the Flyers’ hopes alive with their next shift.

And we’ve got a chance from Provorov! And Konecny doing some fancy stickwork through traffic for a great chance, beating Lindgren, but ringing it off the post. And they go off to get the first trio a chance, and they get it in close, but Montreal gets the stop.

And now Giroux and Danault are fighting! Both are taken off  with 18.8 seconds to go.

AFTER OVERTIME: Flyers 0, Canadiens 0

The shootout:

Galchenyuk: No goal

Giroux: No goal

Byron: Goal

Patrick: No goal

Drouin: No goal

Voracek: Goal

Lehkonen: No goal

Weal: No goal

Danault: No goal

Konecny: No goal

Schlemko: No goal

Couturier: GOAL

FINAL: Flyers 1, Canadiens 0