The Philadelphia Flyers wanted to forget their last game, a 5-1 loss against the Carolina Hurricanes as quickly as possible. Thursday night, they were able to do that by earning a 3-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens.
The Canadiens are the top seed in the Atlantic Division and even took an early 1-0 lead in the game. The Flyers, though, didn’t falter and slowly worked back into the game on goals from Claude Giroux and Matt Read.
Hours before the game Philly head coach Dave Hakstol came under fire for his decisions to scratch Shayne Gostisbehere and Travis Konecny. Konecny’s replacement, Dale Weise, had a strong game against his old team, but didn’t end up on the score sheet.
The loss continues an up-and-down stretch for the Canadiens. They’ve now lost five of their last eight and don’t have back-to-back wins since the beginning of January. In net, Carey Price didn’t have a bad game, but let up two unspectacular goals.
The Canadiens controlled the first seven minutes of the period. They were rewarded with Nikita Nesterov’s first goal in a maroon uniform. After controlling play in the offensive zone, Alex Galchenyuk made a pass across the blue line for an absolute laser from Nesterov off a one-timer.
— Peter Alper (@peteralper99) February 3, 2017
The Flyers began to fight back and began to take over play as the period went along. The last seven minutes Philadelphia controlled play but wasn’t rewarded for it.
With just over two minutes left in the period, Torrey Mitchell tripped Brandon Manning, giving the Flyers the first power play of the game. The team had some good chances, including a shot from the high slot from Brayden Schenn, but Carey Price was strong in net.
Despite a slow start and trailing, Philadelphia went into the intermission with a 10-5 lead in shots.
It may have taken almost 18 minutes into the second for the Flyers to get their second power play, but they picked up where they left off on the man advantage and tied the game at one. Claude Giroux fired a shot off the half boards that hit Price’s glove and bounced in.
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) February 3, 2017
While the stanza ended in the Flyers’ favor, it was more of a back-and-forth affair. Dale Weise had a chance in front of the net with just over five minutes left and Wayne Simmonds put a rebound into a sprawling Price before Giroux scored 30 seconds later.
The Canadiens, who collapsed around Price for most of the period, best chance came from Jacob De La Rose when he found himself on a 2-on-1 with seven minutes left in the period. He shot the puck, Michal Neuvirth made the save, but was out of the net because of it. De La Rose tried to bank the puck off of the astray goalie, but was blocked.
Matt Read beat Price on an unscreened, undeflected slap shot that would end up as the game-winner at 16:28 of the third period. After entering the zone, the 30-year-old ripped a seeing-eye shot that beat Price to the far post for his first goal in 26 games.
Read goal pic.twitter.com/Rm8Ry10a1b
— steph (@myregularface) February 3, 2017
Tasked with taking back the lead, Montreal began its’ territorial push to tie the game. Paul Byron put a tip-pass on Neuvirth and two minutes later missed the net on a breakaway shot. Max Pacioretty and Alex Radulov combined for two chances with just over six minutes left.
But the effort came too little, too late for the Habs. The Flyers played stingy defense and tried for some transition chances while holding onto the lead. Weise had a breakaway opportunity and a chance in front later, but couldn’t convert against his old team.
With 13 seconds left in the game, Sean Couturier added his second point of the night by scoring on an empty Montreal net after Price was pulled for an extra attacker sealing the win.
MTL-Nikita Nesterov (4) assisted by Alex Galchenyuk (17), Andrei Markov (21)
PHI (PP)-Claude Giroux (12) assisted by Mark Streit (15), Brayden Schenn (17)
PHI-Matt Read (7) assisted by Sean Couturier (6), Nick Cousins (8)
PHI-Couturier (9), unassisted
THW Three Stars
First: Matt Read (one goal)
Second: Sean Couturier (one goal, one assist)
Third: Claude Giroux (one goal)
Philadelphia Flyers vs. Los Angeles Kings
Wells Fargo Center – 1 p.m. EST on Saturday, February 4, 2017
Broadcast Channels: CSNP
Season Series: 1-0 Philadelphia
Montreal Canadiens vs. Washington Capitals
Bell Centre – 1 p.m. EST on Saturday, February 4, 2017
Broadcast Channels: CSMA
Season Series: 1-1 Tie
Wes Herrmann graduated from Penn State with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2014. He used to write hockey for Cardiac Cane and Broad Street Buzz and has loved the game since birth. Follow him on Twitter at @Wes_Herrm or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org