Despite a solid performance in the face of adverse circumstances on Monday, the Flyers failed to sustain that momentum and suffered a shocking 5-1 loss to the Canadiens in Montreal tonight.
Max Pacioretty continued his hot start, posting two goals and an assist while David Desharnais had two assists on the evening. Carey Price saved 21 of the Flyers’ 22 shots tonight to give the Canadiens their second win of the season (2-5-2) and more importantly to stop a paralyzing six-game losing skid.
Jaromir Jagr had the only Philadelphia goal on the evening and Ilya Bryzgalov struggled again — making just 23 saves — as the Flyers have now lost three of their last four games.
To start the game, both teams experienced a power-play opportunity. After Andrej Meszaros finished serving a minor for too many men on the ice, which occured 58 seconds into the game, Lars Eller was sent to the box for hooking at the 3:03 mark. Neither team capitalized on the man advantage as Bryzgalov denied two Canadiens shots and Price denied a Jakub Voracek chance.
Jagr saluted the Montreal crowd after finishing a beautiful passing play by the Flyers. Scott Hartnell, taking advantage of his new line combination, gained the puck along the boards and delievered a cross ice pass to Matt Carle. Witnessing Jagr near the side of the net, Carle glided the puck back across the ice to allow the wily veteram to slam it home for his third goal in two games and a Flyers 1-0 lead at 10:43.
Failing to score on another power-play opportunity, the Flyers allowed the Canadiens to tie the game with a power-play goal with only seconds left in the first period.
With Andreas Lilja in the box for interference, Desharnais slid the puck to Yannick Weber at the point, who slapped it past Ilya Bryzgalov with only 2.6 ticks on the clock.
Halfway through the second period, after stopping multiple chances from the Flyers, the Canadiens grabbed their first lead of the game on an awkward and unorthodox goal. After Wayne Simmonds blocked a cross crease pass, the puck bounced to Andrei Kostitsyn. While crashing the net, he had the puck bounce off his right skate and under Bryzgalov, who was sitting on the ice. Kostitsyn’s third goal of the season gave the Canadiens a 2-1 lead 10:26 into the second period.
Two minutes later, the Canadiens extended their lead to two goals. Being rewarded for creating the play along the boards, Pacioretty found himself in the right spot after a Bryzgalov rebound to put home his third goal of the season.
After potting two goals in a span of 2:12, the Canadiens started to dominate the game armed with a two-goal edge.
To end the second period, the Flyers provided a few power-play scoring chances while Kostitsyn sat in the sin bin for elbowing Simmonds. Failing to score, the Flyers entered the third period down 3-1 and playing 4-on-4 hockey as Voracek received a high-sticking minor at the 20:00 mark of the second period.
To start the third period, James van Riemsdyk just missed cutting the deficit to one. Being sprung on a breakaway, JVR had his shot denied by Price keeping the Canadiens lead at two.
After JVR’s missed opportunity, Pacioretty put home his second goal of the game to extend Montreal’s lead to 4-1. Matt Walker attempted to glove a Canadiens’ shot, but his ill-timed swat forced the puck to bounce off Bryzgalov leading to a series of rebound attempts for Montreal, which ultimately resulted in Pacioretty’s tally. The goal left Philly with a three-goal deficit to overcome with only 16:44 left in regulation.
Adding on to their lead, Michael Cammalleri scored late in the third period. As Desharnais controlled the puck behind the net, he was able to draw Bryzgalov out of the crease and set up Cammalleri just in front for an easy one-timer. Cammalleri’s third goal of the season essentially put the game away for the Canadiens as their lead grew to 5-1 with only 4:24 to play.
Cammalleri’s goal was the last goal of the game as the Canadiens held on to win 5-1 for their first home win of the season.
Failure to convert on painfully close chances led to the Flyers’ loss tonight. Missing a string of extremely close chances in the middle of the second period along with JVR’s breakaway opportunity being stoned in the third period kept the Flyers’ goal total at one when it could have easily been two or three goals. Not only did these missed scoring conversions keep the Flyers off the scoreboard, they led to Canadiens’ goals.
Although they didn’t find the scoresheet, and their efforts ultimately didn’t work, Simmonds and Max Talbot tried to energize the Flyers late in the second after they started trailing by two goals. Talbot crowded Price after a whistle and started pushing multiple Canadiens as they pursued him in an attempt to get the Flyers going. Simmonds drew the penalty on Kostitsyn by attempting to check Kostitsyn. He also talked trash to Travis Moen after the incident in an attempt to get the Flyers going. These are little things, and sometimes they don’t mean anything in relation to the game, but these actions often ignite a team and are valuable traits for both of these players.
The Flyers need to rebound quickly from this embarrassing loss as they host the newest version of the Jets tomorrow night.
Notes: This was the Flyers’ first loss to the Canadiens since their 3-0 loss in Montreal on November 16, 2010…It was also the Flyers first loss to a Canadian team this season (beat the Canucks and Maple Leafs)…Bryzgalov has yet to beat the Canadiens in his career (0-3-1)… Montreal has won 9 of the 13 home tilts against Philadelphia since 2005…Thanks to Weber’s goal in the first period, Kostitsyn’s goal in the second period, and Pacioretty’s goal in the third, Bryzgalov has allowed at least one goal a period over the last seven periods he has played dating back to the third period of the Flyers loss to Washington. He has allowed 14 goals in those seven periods…Bryzgalov fell to 3-3-1 on the season…This is the Canadiens first win since their 5-1 decision against the Jets on October 9…With his goal late in the first period, Weber now has two goals on the season after scoring once all last season in 41 games…Price notched his 100th career win, along with his seventh regular season win against the Flyers…This was Pacioretty’s first two-goal game since March 5, 2011 against the Lightning…This is the first time Desharnais has recorded two or more assists in a game since March 20th, 2011 (three assists against the Wild).