The Montreal Canadiens were back in action on Thursday night in Philadelphia looking to build off of their exciting victory over the Boston Bruins Tuesday. Young centre Jesperi Kotkaniemi was still nursing a groin injury, so the lineup remained the same from last game.
The Habs got off to a rough start but were able to claw their way back and pick up a single point in an overtime loss.
The game got off to a slow start with both teams playing a conservative style early on. There was an early chance where Victor Mete got away from a defender and went in two-on-one with Joel Armia. He sent a pass that was out of Armia’s reach and the puck slid harmlessly into the corner.
Later in the period, Travis Konecny was sent in alone on a nice centre ice pass. Price stood tall and whipped his glove out to make a big save.
Philadelphia broke the scoreless tie with six minutes to go in the period when a harmless point shot from Phillipe Myers found its way through a maze of bodies and into the net. Price never even saw the shot. Less than a minute after a Flyers player was left alone in front but Price made a great blocker save to keep it a one-goal deficit.
Montreal held on for dear life for most of the rest of the first period. The Flyers had a furious attack going for large parts of the remaining six minutes, but backed by some stellar saves by Price, the Habs luckily went into the first intermission trailing by just one goal.
Philadelphia doubled their lead to start the second period. There was a scramble in front of the net and the Habs defenders were unable to clear the Flyers forwards out of the crease, and a loose rebound was put past Price by James van Riemsdyk.
Around seven minutes into the second period, Tomas Tatar was called for a questionable hooking penalty. With twelve seconds left in that minor, Artturi Lehkonen was called for a trip on Shayne Gostisbehere sending the Flyers to a brief five on three. With some huge saves from Price, the Habs were able to survive the penalties and get back to even strength.
The Habs finally showed some life with seven minutes to go. Phillip Danault made a nice move to get around the Flyers defence and into the zone. He took a shot and the rebound came right to Ben Chiarot out front and he fired the rebound short side past Carter to cut the deficit in half.
After the goal, the Habs finally got their legs going and they began to put more pressure on the Flyers. After thirty-four minutes of domination from the Flyers, the tides were finally starting to turn in Montreal’s favour.
Lehkonen was called for a slash with just under two minutes to go in the second but the Habs killed it off. Despite Philadelphia’s heavy shot advantage, it was just a one-goal game heading into the third period.
The Canadiens got more offence from the defencemen in the third. A great forecheck by Armia eventually led to Jonathan Drouin popping the puck back to Weber. The pass wasn’t completely on the mark but Weber was able to corral it between his skates and whistled a shot from the point past Hart to tie the game.
Shortly after the goal the Habs bench was called for too many men, giving the Flyers an early power play. Backed by several more key saves from Price, the penalty kill came up big again and did not allow the Flyers to regain the lead.
Halfway through the period Montreal was called for icing when the puck hit a Flyer at centre ice. After an argument from the Habs and Armia coasting through the faceoff dot, they were called for delay of game, sending Philadelphia to another power play. The Habs came up with another monumental penalty kill to keep the game even. Shortly after the penalty ended, a hooking call on Shea Weber gave Carson Twarynski a penalty shot but Price shut the door again to keep the tie alive.
Each team had their chances for the remainder of the third period. However, neither team could find the go-ahead goal, and they both settled for a point as the game went to overtime.
Montreal has had success in the extra period this year but they didn’t get it this time. They barely possessed the puck and less than a minute in, Sean Couturier squeaked one past Price for the win.
HabsWorld Habs Three Stars
First Star – Carey Price
Price was the main reason that this game went into overtime. He was stellar in the net all night. He made countless big-time saves to keep the Habs in it all night.
Stats: 40 saves on 43 shots, 2.95 GAA, .930 SV%
Second Star – Nick Cousins
Cousins played well for the Habs. He earned a promotion to the top line for most of the game due to Tatar’s continued penalty trouble. He also had an assist on the Habs first goal of the night.
Stats: 1A, +1, 2 SOG, 12:58 TOI
Third Star – Shea Weber
Weber played a vital role on the penalty kill all night long. He also scored the goal in the third period to bring the Habs back to level.
Stats: 1G, -1, 5 SOG, 23:44 TOI
Honourable Mention – The Penalty Kill
The penalty kill that struggled for much of the season was a huge asset in tonight’s game. The Flyers have a highly ranked power play and the Habs shut them down all night. They also didn’t allow the terrible delay of game call in the third period to have a negative impact on the outcome.
Stats: 6 for 6