The Habs went into Philadelphia on Thursday night hoping to pick up where they left off over the weekend. They weren’t able to accomplish that, however, as they fell 5-3 to snap their two-game winning streak.
Unsurprisingly, following their victories over the weekend, Claude Julien didn’t make any changes to his lineup. This meant that Jakub Jerabek, Daniel Carr, and Jacob de la Rose were watching this one from the press box once again.
Lately, a lot of first periods for the Habs have largely been uneventful. This one was no exception. Each team had a couple of chances but it was pretty quiet overall. Montreal’s best chance came in transition with Alex Galchenyuk and Nikita Scherbak. Scherbak received the pass in a prime shooting area but instead looked to give it to Galchenyuk on a quick feed. Had the pass connected, it would have been a likely goal but he wasn’t able to corral it. Shots on goal in the period were 10-9 for Montreal.
The middle stanza featured a whole lot more. The scoring kicked off in a hurry as Travis Konecny beat Carey Price following a strong setup from Claude Giroux less than a minute into the frame. The Canadiens then got into some penalty trouble. Tomas Plekanec took his second penalty of the game just past the four-minute mark and then Byron Froese followed that up with a slashing call shortly after Plekanec’s penalty expired.
However, the Habs were able to score shorthanded this time. Artturi Lehkonen made a great play in the neutral zone to take the puck from Jakub Voracek and sped in on a breakaway before beating Brian Elliott with a perfect shot to tie the game. Unfortunately for the road side, the celebration was short-lived as just 28 seconds later, Giroux restored the lead.
That 2-1 score looked like it was going to hold up to end the period but Montreal’s fourth line had other ideas. After getting a couple of chances, the puck came to Logan Shaw who picked up his second goal in three games as he just managed to get it past Elliott. The Habs weren’t able to get to the room on a high note though as Plekanec followed that up with his third penalty of the night late in the frame. Shots on goal in the second were 8-7 for Philly.
As the saying goes, if you don’t learn from your mistakes, you’re doomed to repeat them. That happened to the Habs in the opening minute of the third. For the second straight period, they allowed Giroux enough time and space to set up a goal, this time coming from Voracek.
Montreal has also had problems with history repeating itself when it comes to allowing goals within a minute of one being scored against them. They managed to avoid that this time…by all of one second. A weak shot from Shayne Gostisbehere got through Price’s pads and Konecny was the first to pounce as he tapped it into an open net. It took a long time for the Canadiens to recover from that as they weren’t able to muster much in the way of offence for a while.
They didn’t go down without a fight, however. A four-on-four situation saw Galchenyuk and David Schlemko get prime opportunities to score but Elliott stood tall. Nikita Scherbak then drew his second penalty of the game with 3:30 to play. Price was pulled as soon as the Habs got control of the puck and seconds later, Brendan Gallagher redirected a feed from Jonathan Drouin past Elliott to get Montreal back within one.
That’s as close as they would get though. Price was eventually pulled once again and while Montreal got some time in the Philly zone to set something up, Ivan Provorov eventually skipped one nearly the full length of the rink into the empty net to make it a 5-3 final.
Price turned aside 23 of 27 shots from the Flyers while Elliott made 25 stops. Both teams had some success with the power play with Montreal coming in at 1/3 and Philadelphia 2/4.
HW Habs 3 Stars of the Night:
1st Star: Brendan Gallagher – Montreal didn’t have a lot of spark plugs in this one but as usual, Gallagher was one of the exceptions. He was aggressive shooting the puck all night long while his goal gave them a chance to come back right to the end.
Stats: 1 goal, -1 rating, 5 shots, 2 takeaways, 17:53 TOI
2nd Star: Artturi Lehkonen – Some players just need one to go in to look like a completely different player. This appears to be the case with Lehkonen who looked a lot like his rookie self in this one. I’m confident in suggesting that he doesn’t make the play to set up his shorthanded tally had he not scored against Ottawa.
Stats: 1 goal, +1 rating, 3 shots, 2 takeaways, 15:05 TOI
3rd Star: Jeff Petry – He wasn’t quite as good as he has been lately but he was still Montreal’s catalyst from the back end while logging a ton of ice time once again (including over half of the first period). If he can even sustain this level moving forward though, the Habs will take it.
Stats: 0 points, -2 rating, 1 shot, 2 hits, 2 takeaways, 25:07 TOI
Honourable Mention: Logan Shaw – He didn’t get a lot of ice time (no Hab played less than him) but he made the most of what he got to work with. His goal was a big one while he had another good chance earlier in the game. Games like this will help keep him in the lineup even with Carr and de la Rose waiting for their next chance to play.
Stats: 1 goal, +1 rating, 4 shots, 3 hits, 9:30 TOI