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Canadiens Now Only 2 Points Back of Philadelphia With Bedard Sweepstakes in Mind, Flyers Taken Down 5-2 in Listless Performance

(Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Montreal Canadiens gained ground on the Philadelphia Flyers after their 5-2 victory on Friday night. Before tonight’s game, the 25th-ranked Flyers held a 4 point lead over the 26th-ranked Canadiens, but Montreal dominated the home team tonight with a full team effort that lasted from start to finish.

The Canadiens scored 2 late first period goals, with the first one coming after a very bad line change handicapped the Orange and Black and then an absolute backbreaker with 5 seconds left when it seemed like the Flyers gave up thinking the period was coming to an end. Montreal added a third goal in the second period on a power play after Wade Allison was called for an instigator after dropping the gloves with Alex Belzile.

Owen Tippett then briefly gave the Flyers life with a goal 9 seconds into the third period, he then followed that up with 3 scoring chances that were all stopped by Jake Allen. The Habs then added 2 more goals before Ivan Provorov scored his 4th of the season with less than 90 seconds remaining.

Allen allowed 2 goals on 26 shots for his 13th win of the season, while Carter Hart allowed 5 goals on 31 shots for his 19th regulation loss – in a game where defensive breakdowns were the theme of the night.

The Philadelphia Flyers returned home to the Wells Fargo Center in the first game of a back to back set to end the month of February against the Montreal Canadiens. The Flyers had lost 7 of their last 10 including their last game against the Edmonton Oilers after blowing a third period lead to the best dynamic duo in hockey. They ended the 4-game road trip going 1-3-0 and came into tonight’s game still without their top scorer in Travis Konecny. The Flyers reverted back to the 11/7 formation with Kieffer Bellows once again making way out of the lineup for Justin Braun, however the rest of the lines remained intact with Carter Hart making yet another start in his league-leading 44th game of the season.

The Montreal Canadiens, on the other hand, came in with a laundry list of injuries that included Paul Byron, Brendan Gallagher, Joel Edmundson, Sean Monahan, Joel Armia, Kirby Dach, Cole Caufield, Arber Xhekaj, and Juraj Slafkovsky. They entered tonight’s game after taking down the New Jersey Devils by a score of 5-2 on Tuesday while only firing 18 shots on goal. Chris Tierney made his Canadiens debut after being claimed off the waivers yesterday from the Florida Panthers, and Jake Allen received the start after taking a defeat in his last game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on the 18th of February.

In terms of overall standings, this game has a lot riding on it especially if you’re interested in the Connor Bedard sweepstakes. The Flyers entered tonight’s game 25th in the NHL with 56 points in 59 games, while the Canadiens are right behind them at 26th with 52 points in 57 games.


5 and a half minutes into the game and with the Flyers defense pinching on the play, David Savard served Mike Hoffman with a perfect stretch pass for a breakaway. Ivan Provorov had gone too deep in the offensive zone and wasn’t able to get back in time, while Travis Sanheim was on the other side of the ice, but fortunately Hoffman fumbled the puck trying to deke Carter Hart and his shot went wide.

With 12:08 remaining in the first period, Olle Lycksell was called for an offensive-zone slashing penalty after he whacked the stick out of David Savard’s hands. The 28th-ranked power play fired shots at will towards Carter Hart, who had to make 6 saves in the first 75 seconds before Provorov retrieved a rebound and sent it down the length of the ice.

After an offensive zone shift that lasted over 70 seconds, Joel Farabee finally got the puck out of the zone but not deep enough. 3 Flyers went towards the bench for a line change even though the puck had only just gotten past the blue-line, and the Canadiens came back on an odd-man rush with Hoffman sending Savard a saucer pass before firing a shot past Hart for his 3rd of the season with only 2:10 left.

Then with 4.7 seconds left in the first period, Chris Tierney scored his first goal as a Canadien after the Flyers blew their coverage right in front of Hart. The Canadiens dumped the puck well before the red-line, chased it down to avoid the icing with a strong forecheck by Michael Pezzetta, and he then took the body before making a quick pass to the front of the net where Tierney was left all alone to beat a bewildered Hart.

Wade Allison initiated the contact but both Cam York and Rasmus Ristolainen allowed the pass to get passed them, while Tierney walked in unmarked and untouched with Scott Laughton and Kevin Hayes caught looking.

With that goal, the Canadiens have now scored the game’s opening goal in 7 straight, they entered the first intermission up 2-0, and held a 14-6 shot advantage with the Flyers having 1 shot on goal in the final 8:33 and 3 shots in the final 13:53.


To start the second period, Noah Cates had the right idea and mindset as he walked into the slot and made a move on Justin Barron before firing a shot that was stopped by the blocker of Jake Allen, which represented the best chance for the Orange and Black so far. The Flyers looked dead in the water, flat-footed, without an iota of energy, and 7 minutes into the middle frame the Flyers were being outshot 15-10 without many chances against a very beleaguered Canadiens team.

Alex Belzile then hit Scott Laughton into the boards and he was very slow to get up, to which Wade Allison responded with an extremely spirited bout.

Unfortunately Allison was given not only given a 2-minute minor for instigation but a 10-minute misconduct as well, and it only took Montreal 19 seconds to capitalize after Nick Suzuki’s pass attempt went through the wickets of Rasmus Ristolainen and off the stick of Provorov and into the net for his 19th of the season at the 7:12 mark.

The rest of the period was quite literally a snoozefest and the Philly faithful let their team have it with a chorus of boos that lasted the entirety of the latter half of the period. The Flyers looked completely disinterested, they were being outworked and outclassed by a defensive corps that had 4 players with a combined 172 games under their belt at the NHL level, and had one really dangerous opportunity through 40 minutes that belonged to Noah Cates at the start of the period. The Canadiens entered the second intermission up 3-0 and held a 20-16 shot advantage.


9 seconds into the third period, Owen Tippett – easily the most noticeable Flyer tonight – ripped a snap-shot from the point to get the Flyers on the board. His 17th goal of the season and 3rd against Montreal came after the Canadiens won the opening draw but Morgan Frost forced a turnover at the blue-line to set up his linemate.

Only a mere minute and a half later, Tippett had another crack at the net but his slot-chance was denied by Allen to keep the deficit at 2. Then Tippett came within inches of scoring again at around the 5 minute mark but his opportunity jumped over his stick.

Unfortunately, the Habs extinguished any chances of a comeback after a point shot from Justin Barron was deflected by Jesse Ylonen that beat Hart with traffic in front of the net for his 1st goal of the season at the 6:26 mark of the third period.

They added a 5th goal after Josh Anderson finished off a pitch and catch with Rafael Harvey-Pinard at the 12:12 mark of the period. It was a simple play after the Canadiens dumped the puck in and around the net, Harvey-Pinard beat Tony DeAngelo handedly behind the net, stripped him of the puck, and fed Anderson who was all alone in front of the goaltender for his 17th of the season with Ivan Provorov losing his man in coverage.

With 1:28 remaining in the game, Provorov scored his 4th goal of the season after a great set-up by Tony DeAngelo. It was only his 3rd goal in his last 46 games and 1st in 12 games and he looked extremely relieved after the puck crossed the line, celebrated for a brief second before dropping his arms down realizing the game was well out of hand.

Morgan Frost did a good job on the play as well to jumpstart the goal with a board battle win and claiming his second assist of the game.

Other than that, the Flyers delivered a stinker of a performance after returning to home ice, dropping 5-2 to the Canadiens.


The Flyers head up the Turnpike tomorrow night (7:00pm ET) to take on the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center.

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