The Philadelphia Flyers collected their 4th consecutive victory and 5th in their last 6 games as they concluded their 7-game homestand on a high, finishing 5-1-1 after defeating the Montreal Canadiens, 3-2.
Morgan Frost scored 2 goals and Felix Sandström made 27 saves as the Flyers continued their very-late winning ways against a team that was breathing down their necks in the overall standings.
With the victory, the Flyers now sit with 70 points through 73 games, 3 back of the Detroit Red Wings and 4 back of St. Louis and Vancouver for 23rd place – with the latter two facing off tonight in a 6-5 Blues victory.
Morgan Frost scored the game’s opening goal at the beginning of the second period with a power play just expiring. That was matched shortly after by Brendan Gallagher, who jumped on a turnover right in front of Sandström to extend his goal-streak.
The third period was flying by until Frost doubled his tally by foregoing the streaking Joel Farabee and instead going cutting into the middle of the ice and ripping one top-shelf, using Farabee as a decoy. Owen Tippett then iced the game with an empty netter 29 seconds later, which was important because Rafaël Harvey-Pinard scored a goal with 22 seconds left on the clock to make it 3-2.
Cayden Primeau, making his first start since January of 2022, made 24 saves, while Sandström recorded his 2nd victory of the season, and first since November 8th, by making 27 saves.
The surging Philadelphia Flyers concluded their homestand against the visiting Montreal Canadiens in a game with heavy implications down near the bottom of the standings. The Flyers entered tonight’s game on a 3-game winning streak, had won 4 of their last 5 games, and had recorded a point in 5 straight games. Montreal was ranked 28th in the league with 66 points in 74 games, while the Flyers were a couple spots up with 68 points in 72 games. A win for Montreal would’ve had them tied with the Flyers, which would bode well for the tanking faction.
With Tyson Foerster and Egor Zamula being sent down for the AHL playoff-push, Nicolas Deslauriers returned from injury and Justin Braun came back in after being a healthy scratch. Kieffer Bellows remained in the lineup and was slotted on the third line with Kevin Hayes and James van Riemsdyk to start the game. Wade Allison took Tyson Foerster’s spot on the second line with Brendan Lemieux and Morgan Frost. Carter Hart was a late scratch with a lower-body injury so the Flyers called up Samuel Ersson on an emergency basis and started Felix Sandström.
As for the Canadiens, they entered the confines of the Wells Fargo Center looking for the season series sweep after a 5-4 shootout victory earlier in the year and a 5-2 victory last month in Philadelphia. They entered tonight’s game on a 2-game winning streak after having lost 3 of their previous 4.
Cayden Primeau made his first start of the season – and first start since January of 2022 – after getting the call-up, prospect Sean Farrell made his NHL debut tonight, and Kirby Dach was a late scratch and in his stead came Chris Tierney – who scored his first goal as a member of the Canadiens in his first game the last time these two teams faced off.
It took the Philadelphia Flyers over 11 minutes to get their feet moving in this one as the Montreal Canadiens started off on the better foot.
There were plenty of whistles and choppy plays to start, but Montreal had an early 9-4 shot advantage in the first 12 minutes after the Flyers fired 3 quick and harmless shots towards Cayden Primeau to start things off. Kevin Hayes had a breakaway opportunity but his five-hole slide attempt was stopped, unfortunately the Flyers went almost 8 minutes without a shot after that attempt.
The Canadiens were throwing everything towards Felix Sandström, but their best chance came off the stick of Brendan Gallagher who smashed one off the crossbar.
The Flyers ended the period on a better note as they posted 8 shots on goal, including 4 in the final 6 minutes. Travis Sanheim had a great opportunity with 17 seconds left after he jumped on a loose puck in the slot but he made one too many dekes and fired a weak shot that was stopped by the out-stretched pad of Primeau.
Montreal held a 14-8 shot advantage overall and a 5-1 blocked shot edge, but it was a rather even period from 2 lowly teams.
1:39 into the second period, Morgan Frost was tripped up by Denis Gurianov, sending the Flyers out onto the ice for the first power play of the game.
Seconds after the penalty had expired, Kevin Hayes set up Morgan Frost with a cross-seam pass towards the other side of the net to beat Primeau for his 15th of the season.
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) March 29, 2023
The Flyers power play spent a lot of time in the offensive zone, but didn’t record a shot on goal after Rasmus Ristolainen had 3 slap-shots that missed the net. Ristolainen spent the entirety of the power play on the ice but as the puck came back down to him at the point, he wheeled it over to Kevin Hayes who went around the net before finding Frost on the other side.
Things might’ve finally opened up after a tentative first period – the shots on goal were not indicative of the play on the ice – as Morgan Frost came barreling in on Primeau again, but he waited too long to fire a shot and his deke was made with very little space in the blue paint.
Then the Flyers countered on the next shift with another odd-man rush set up by Frost, but Nick Seeler’s chance was just barely stopped by Primeau and had to be cleared out of the blue paint by Jonathan Kovacevic. Kovacevic’s clearance jettisoned the Canadiens on their own odd-man rush but Brendan Gallagher’s deflection opportunity just went high.
The chances kept on coming because coming out of the first commercial break, Michael Pezzetta, who was all alone in the slot, fired a shot that rang off the post. Then a few minutes later, Wade Allison was sprung onto a breakaway by Cam York that was denied by the glove of Primeau, before Mike Hoffman was robbed by Sandström on his slot chance.
However on the very next shift, Brendan Gallagher – who came close on 2 opportunities beforehand – jumped on a terrible turnover from Scott Laughton in the slot and fired a quick snap shot over the glove of Sandström.
200e hier, 201e aujourd'hui!
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) March 29, 2023
The puck was there for taking after the face-off but Laughton flubbed the clearance attempt, which allowed Gallagher to quickly jump on the opportunity and tied things up at the 9:39 mark. He extended his goal-streak to 3-games with his 7th of the season and 3rd in 5 games since returning from an injury that he sustained on the 3rd of January.
With 2:01 remaining in the period, Mike Matheson was whistled down for a tripping minor on Kieffer Bellows, sending the 32nd-ranked power play back onto the ice. The Flyers registered 2 shots on goal, one from Tony DeAngelo, whose wrist shot hit the glove of Primeau before nudging the post, and the other coming from Frost who made a great move but lost his balance before taking the shot.
The period ended with both teams tied once again, Montreal still held the shot advantage at 23-19.
The third period zoomed by with very few whistles being blown and end-to-end play from both teams. No goals resulted from the end-to-end plays, and in fact barely any scoring chances were created, even though the Flyers held a 7-2 shot advantage in the first 15 minutes of the period.
There was a 10-minute stretch of continuous play and the Flyers were in and around the blue paint of Cayden Primeau, but for whatever reason weren’t shooting when the opportunity presented itself; a lot of incessant and errant passing and when they did get a grade-A scoring chance, they missed the net.
With 2:15 remaining in regulation time, Morgan Frost and Joel Farabee jumped on an odd-man rush with the former making a move into the middle of the ice before ripping a shot glove-high for his 2nd of the game and 16th of the season.
— Hockey Daily 365 l NHL Highlights (@HockeyDaily365) March 29, 2023
Cam York blocked a shot, which allowed Frost to pick up the puck and catch the pinching Canadiens napping with an odd-man rush.
The Flyers then seemingly iced the game with the empty net after Owen Tippett’s speed and forecheck forced Mike Matheson into a blind backhanded pass that he stole and slid into the empty net for his 22nd of the season with 1:46 left.
— nopClips (@nopClips) March 29, 2023
With 22 seconds left, Rafaël Harvey-Pinard, who was all alone on the side of the net, finished off an easy play for his 13th of the season to cut the deficit to 3-2.
Rafaël Harvey-Pinard réduit l'écart!
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) March 29, 2023
Matheson found Jesse Ylönen entering the zone and as the puck was bouncing, it beat DeAngelo, which allowed Ylönen to gather towards the corner, fired a shot into a mass of bodies, and Jake Evans deflected it towards Harvey-Pinard at the side of the net.
Felix Sandström kept the door shut the rest of the way and made 27 saves to collect his 2nd win of the season and first since November 8th.
The Flyers hit the road on Thursday night (7:00pm ET, NBCSP) when they visit Canadian Tire Centre to take on Claude Giroux’s Ottawa Senators.