The Habs were back in action on Wednesday after an exciting win against the Rangers on Saturday. They visited the city of Brotherly Love as they faced the surprising Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers shocked the hockey world with the trade of Cutter Gauthier to start the week, so the Canadiens decided to follow suit and not play Samuel Montembeault after his masterful performance on Saturday. Cayden Primeau was allowed to face his childhood team, but the team didn’t help him an awful lot as the Flyers ended up taking the game 3-2 in a shootout in what was an incredibly sloppy affair.
Cole Caufield — Nick Suzuki — Juraj Slafkovsky
Brendan Gallagher – Jake Evans — Josh Anderson Emil Heineman – Sean Monahan – Jesse Ylonen Michael Pezzetta — Mitchell Stephens — Joel Armia
Mike Matheson — David Savard
Kaiden Guhle — Justin Barron
Jayden Struble — Jordan Harris
1) It wasn’t a great first period for the Habs as they were outshot 10-2, but the score still favoured them after a period as they scored on both their shots. The first was a Barron point shot that Monahan got a stick on. The second was a Savard shot that went in off Morgan Frost.
2) As mentioned, it wasn’t all positive. The Habs got the only power play of the period and really squandered the occasion. Philadelphia’s goal was also an ugly one as a pass to the slot bounced around before landing on Owen Tippett’s stick who had an empty net from a sharp angle. Ryan Poehling almost scored late in the period, and while some will argue that the puck may have crossed the goal line, there is little doubt that the goal would have been called back due to goaltender interference.
3) The second period was better for the Canadiens in terms of shots on goal, but they didn’t really affect the deserve-to-win meter throughout the period. The period started wide open with scoring chances for both teams. Caufield and Slafkovsky got partial breaks before Tippett responded by hitting a post before getting stopped point-blank by Primeau.
4) The Poehling almost goal, three posts, and a save behind Primeau by Monahan. Add the two that went in, and that was the first half of the game for Primeau. This had to be Primeau’s shakiest performance of the season.
5) The Flyers got a power play when Harris flipped a puck over the glass eight minutes into the second period. Montreal’s terrible penalty kill was the perfect medicine for the league’s 31st-ranked power play as Jamie Drysdale got his first point as a Flyer as he quarterbacked a nice pass that opened a lane for Frost who buried the scoring chance from the top of the circle to tie the game.
6) With five minutes to play, Savard took the Habs’ second penalty of the period for holding. This time, the Habs were far more aggressive on the kill, and it paid off as they were able to get out of the situation.
7) The entire third period was as boring as can be as neither team wanted to be guilty of committing the mistake that would land in the back of their net. The result was equivalent to watching the 1990’s New Jersey Devils.
8) What little chances were available happened in favour of the Flyers as they hit multiple posts in the period and outshot the Habs 15-10 in the period which sounds way more exciting than it was. Primeau was not exceptional (as mentioned with the posts) but he was solid when needed.
9) The overtime merchant Canadiens were at it again, but this time the game’s momentum continued in the extra frame as the Flyers were in complete control of the first four minutes of play. The final minute was an up and down spectacle with Anderson and Tippett getting stopped on breakaways.
10) The shootout: Couturier: Slowly came in on his off-wing a little like Suzuki likes to do to score on Primeau. That was it. Travis Konecny hit the post while Bobby Brink was stopped rather easily. For Montreal, Suzuki ran into the goalie and Caufield shot into the pads. Ylonen did deke out Samuel Ersson but the puck bounced up and Ylonen missed the net to end the game.
HabsWorld Habs 3 Stars
1st Star – Cole Caufield
Caufield got a few scoring chances on the night, but the finish continued to elude the young sniper. However, this might have been the best game I’ve ever seen Caufield play away from the puck in defensive coverage (which included getting back to break up a breakaway in the first period), as well as managing the puck on his side of the red line.
Stats: -1, 1 shot, 19:56 T.O.I.
2nd Star – Jayden Struble
In reality, Struble was likely the best Hab on the night. It was the same thing we’ve seen from Struble since he came up from Laval. Decisiveness, strong plays defensively, and placing pucks in favourable positions for his teammates. Just a quiet, effective game from a player playing much smarter than his age.
Stats: even rating, 1 hit, 2 shots, 19:33 T.O.I.
3rd Star – Brendan Gallagher
In the second period, the Evans line was the only one to really get any offensive zone time and most of that time was a result of a strong play on the puck by Gallagher.
Stats: even rating, 2 hits, 2 shots, 16:33 T.O.I.