After a six-game road trip, the Philadelphia Flyers returned home tonight to face the Montreal Canadiens, in a game which was Danny Briere's first trip to Philadelphia in a Canadiens uniform. The Flyers' defense and Steve Mason prevailed tonight, holding the normally potent Montreal offense to one goal in a crucial win. The first line clicked tonight for the Flyers, with Michael Raffl and Claude Giroux lighting the lamp for the orange and black. The Flyers get a big win to move up in the standings.
The Flyers dominated play in the first period. The defense allowed just 4 Montreal shots, and the offense had the puck in the Montreal zone for a considerable amount of time, forcing the Canadiens to block 14 shots in the first period alone. The Flyers' persistence would pay off in the second half of the period, as Michael Raffl scored his second of the year. Raffl, the beneficiary of playing with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek, took a pass from Voracek to where he was set up perfectly to beat Carey Price and put the Flyers on the board. The Flyers closed out the first period with strong, physical play and took the lead into the intermission.
The Flyers didn't start the second period nearly as sharp as they were in the first period. In the first five minutes of the period, they allowed a number of scoring chances to an aggressive Montreal forecheck. However, they got things under control by the halfway point of the period, which is when the first line decided to strike again. Jakub Voracek made an incredible cross-ice past deep in the Montreal zone to Claude Giroux, who was waiting on the far side. Giroux was able to fling it past Carey Price, giving the Flyers a 2-0 lead at the game's halfway point.
While the Flyers shut things down the rest of the way in the second period, Steve Downie took an elbow to the head and was injured with just over three minutes to go in the period. Downie, who suffered a concussion on November 1st, appeared woozy and headed back to the locker room after the hit. Alexei Emelin, who threw the elbow on Downie, received a 5-minute major and gave the Flyers 5 minutes of power play time. The Flyers didn't cash in with the first three and a half minutes of the man advantage, but had power play time that would roll over into the third period.
Unfortunately for the Flyers, Montreal would kill off the 5-minute major without incident to begin the third period. Also, Steve Downie was back on the bench for the Flyers to begin the period, which was a great sign. The Flyers continued to play solid defense through the third period, although they nearly allowed a goal to Brian Gionta which got past Mason, but was ruled to be knocked in by Gionta's glove.
With Carey Price on the bench, the Canadiens would cut the lead in half with just 55 seconds to go. Alex Galchenyuk got a tough goal past Mason on a puck that Mason never had a chance on, as he was tied up in front of the net. Fortunately, the Flyers were able to close the door in the final minute and get the win. As a little bonus for the fans and viewers, there was a notable melee at the end of the game, as Steve Mason got into it with a couple of the Canadiens.
After their sixth back-to-back game situation of the season, the Flyers beat the odds after getting thrashed last night. They turn last night's 7-2 loss into a big win against a top team in the Eastern Conference. The defense was solid all night, and the Flyers only allowed 21 shots. The offense wasn't exactly high-octane, but it was enough to give the Flyers the win tonight. The win was especially important because there were only 3 points separating the 8 and 13 seeds in the Eastern Conference. The Flyers will move up in the standings after falling a few spots following a couple of rough losses in the past week. They take on the Washington Capitals on Sunday afternoon.
Montreal – 19:05: Alex Galchenyuk (9), Assisted by Brian Gionta (12) and PK Subban (21)
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