The Canadiens finally recorded their first win on home ice this season and just their second win overall with a 5-1 victory over visiting Philadelphia on Wednesday night. The started as many before with the Flyers getting the early lead but the Habs managed to settle down and mount a comeback which demonstrated just how good the team can be when playing as a unit.
The game was somewhat overshadowed when just 90 minutes before the drop of the puck news came out that Assistant Coach Perry Pearn was let go by the club. As the coach who was responsible from the powerplay, it did not look favourably on him with the team’s PP functioning at just 9% efficiency. He may end up just being the sacrificial lamb but time will tell if Pierre Gauthier made the right decision in regards to Pearn.
The game started evenly with both teams having chances before the Flyers took over the game and started to dominate possession. The Flyers opened the scoring midway through the first period when Raphael Diaz pushed up too high in his own zone and left space in behind for Jaromir Jagr to skate into and take the pass which he fired quickly into the short side. It was not until just before the end of the period, with only 3 seconds left, that the Canadiens entered the game when Yannick Weber fired a hard shot from the top of the circle to tie the game.
The Habs started the second period with a spring in their step with Erik Cole looking particularly lively. The early momentum could have been quashed had Wayne Simmonds not missed a wide open net but their persistence paid off when Andrei Kostitsyn drove to the net and was rewarded with a, somewhat dubious, goal when the puck went in off his leg and behind Ilya Bryzgalov. The Canadiens then doubled their lead just 2:12 later when a P.K. Subban point shot was blocked and fell right to the stick of Max Pacioretty who slotted home for a 3-1 lead.
In the third period the Canadiens put the game away with goals from Pacioretty and Mike Cammalleri. The first the result of some old fashion hockey when Pacioretty drove to the net and was rewarded with a rebound in which he put away for his fourth goal of the season. The last goal of the night came as a result of some good work down low for the David Desharnais line with Cole causing all kinds of havoc for the Flyers defence. The put eventually came to Desharnais behind the net who passed out front to an awaiting Cammalleri who doesn’t miss from that distance.
This was a complete effort by the team, which have been few and far between this season, with the defensive play limiting a good Flyers team for most of the night and the offense capitalizing on the majority of their chances. It’s a winning formula in which the Canadiens will have to use on a consistent basis if they want to return to a playoff position in the near future.
HW 3 Stars of the Night:
1st Star: Max Pacioretty (2G, 1A, 3 shots, 16:03 TOI)
For a player who was a doubt to play with a wrist injury he sure didn’t play like it. He seems to get injured and come back better than ever. He played a perfect power-forward game and was rewarded with 3 points to make him the teams’ top scorer.
2nd Star: Erik Cole (1A, 6 shots, 13:33 TOI)
It seems like Cole has finally come out of his shell and settled into the team. His linemates, Tomas Plekanec and Cammalleri, all seem to have good chemistry and he played the way which makes him successful, by using his speed in the neutral zone and his size down low in the offensive zone. Probably his best game this season and hopefully just the first of more to come.
3rd Star: Carey Price (100 Career Wins, 21 saves, .955 SV%)
The sixth time’s a charm for Carey Price who finally recorded his 100th career win and became the 12th Montreal goaltender to do so. He ditched his pink equipment before this match and it’s probably safe to say we won’t be seeing it again. Although the team didn’t rely on Carey to steal the game he did make the crucial saves early in the game which allowed the Canadiens to keep attacking and record their second win of the season.