Continuing their strong month of December, thePhiladelphia Flyers soldiered on despite more depressing injury news, winning their seventh straight game with a 4-3 triumph on the road over the Montreal Canadiens tonight.
Andrej Meszaros scored his third goal of the season in the first half of the third period to earn his second-game winner of the season. Sergei Bobrovsky saved 28 shots in the win, and Matt Carle led all skaters in points for the game with three assists.
Tonight’s win keeps the Flyers record perfect for the month of December as they have won five of their seven games in this streak on the road.
David Desharnais, Louis Leblanc and Erik Cole lit the lamp for the Habs, while Carey Price made 21 saves in the loss.
The deciding score was set up by a wily veteran who had been silent all game.
Jaromir Jagr puck-handled in the offensive zone, eventually backhanding a pass to Meszaros at the right point. Releasing a rocket from his station, the blast reached the net untouched before hitting the top of Price’s left leg pad and deflecting into the top of the cage with 11:52 left in the game.
Minutes after a Montreal power play failed to connect, Tomas Plekanec had the game’s first big scoring chance as he walked in on Bobrovsky all alone after the Flyers’ defenders were caught out of position in the neutral zone. Plekanec failed to convert as he ripped a wrister from the bottom of the slot that Bobrovsky denied with a quick kick-save with his right leg pad.
After the Bobrovsky stop, the line of Max Talbot, Sean Couturier, and Harry Zolnierczyk cycled in the Canadiens’ offensive zone ultimately leading to Petteri Nokelainen being flagged for a holding minor.
The Flyers didn’t convert on their first power play of the night, but one of the forwards that caused the power-play advantage gave Philly the lead minutes after the man advantage.
As Voracek entered the Canadiens’ defensive zone, he displayed a handful of nifty moves to move past Hal Gill and move to the boards to Price’s left before skating around his net. Moving right to left behind the cage, Voracek slid a pass to Talbot, who was entering the area near the bottom of the circle to Price’s right. Talbot then ripped put his shot through for his ninth goal of the season and a 1-0 Flyers’ lead 12:07 into the first period.
Things got hairy from there as Marc-Andre Bourdon was sent to the box for a slashing minor at the 17:01 mark, then Voracek committed a tripping minor just 20 seconds later for an extensive two-man advantage for the Canadiens.
The Canadiens eventually put the puck past Bobrovsky, but due to a generous call from the officials it didn’t count.
As Cole was parked in front of Bobrovsky, he nudged the Philly netminder before Plekanec put home a rebound at the left post. Cole’s play didn’t alter or stop Bobrovsky’s ability to make the save, but the refs disallowed the tally to keep the Flyers’ lead intact.
The visitors weren’t out of the woods yet, as Braydon Coburn received a cross-checking minor with just 1:10 left in the period to elongate the Flyers’ penalty kill.
Stopping two shots after Coburn’s minor, as well as five when just Bourdon and Voracek were in the box, Bobrovsky kept the score 1-0 in Philly’s favor as the first period ended.
To start the second period, the Flyers killed off the remaining 50 seconds of Coburn’s penalty to deny the Canadiens’ fourth power play of the evening.
But the good feeling didn’t last long. Desharnais circled to the front of the Flyers’ net letting several players move to the crease and create traffic in front of Bobrovsky. Holding on to the puck long enough, Desharnai roofed his fifth goal of the season as Bobrovsky fell over after colliding with a few of his teammates to tie the game at 1-1.
The game wasn’t tied for long as Zolnierczyk put home his second goal of the season just 46 seconds after Desharnais’ tally.
Grabbing the rebound in the slot off of an errant Carle shot from the point, Zolnierczyk dove to reach the puck providing a backhander that trickled through Price for another highlight reel goal for the rookie.
Shortly after Zolnierczyk gave Philly the 2-1 lead, Couturier was dealt a hooking minor for the Canadiens’ fifth power-play chance of the night which ultimately proved fruitless.
After the penalty kill, the Flyers nearly exteneded their lead to two goals. Simmonds was at the bottom of the circle to Price’s right when he passed the puck to James van Riemsdyk, who was standing at the top of the crease. Price denied the attempt that came at the bottom of the circles keeping the Canadiens’ deficit to one-goal, which they erased quickly following the huge save.
Leblanc registered his first goal of his NHL career 13:24 into the middle period to tie the game at two.
P.K. Subban let go of a wrister through traffic from the point to Bobrovsky’s left. After hitting a few people in front of the net, the puck bounced into the slot, where Leblanc was standing all alone. Due to the fact Bobrovsky was already in the motion of dropping down, Leblanc had a pretty easy play for his first goal of the season.
The teams exchanged cycling sessions in the opposition’s defensive zones before Kimmo Timonen drew a penalty in the corner to Bobrovsky’s right. Michael Cammalleri earned a tripping minor late in the second period to put his team on the penalty kill for the fourth time in the game.
The Flyers didn’t score on the man advantage, but the pressure produced on the power play led to the Flyers’ third goal of the game.
As the puck wrapped around the boards going right to left behind Price, Simmonds grabbed the puck next to the left goal post and quickly forced a shot on Price as the goalie scrambled over to make the kick-save. After the initial save, the puck bounced up in the air hitting Simmonds and moving along the goal line to the right of Price. Hitting the puck one more time to finally move it over the goal line, Simmonds gave his team another one-goal lead with his ninth goal of the season as only 1:10 remained in the second period.
Shortly after Simmonds’ goal, the Canadiens tied the game due to a horrible non-call from the refs. As Jagr finessed his way into the offensive zone, his legs were taken out by a sliding Canadien before he moved into the slot. Making no contact with the puck prior to the trip, the Flyers should have been awarded a power play, but instead went to the penalty kill after Couturier was marked with a slashing minor.
It took Cole only 25 seconds to net a goal on the power play. Max Pacioretty was standing on the goal line to Bobrovsky’s left before he moved the puck to Cole, who was streaking through the crease. As the puck hit off his skate and then off Philly’s netminder, the puck nestled itself just inside the right goal post for Cole’s 12th tally of the season.
With all the momentum in the Canadiens’ favor, Carle threw the puck over the glass in the defensive zone for a delaying game minor just 11 seconds after Cole’s tying goal.
Fortunately for Philly, they didn’t enter the third period on the penalty kill as Desharnais received a tripping minor at the 20:00 mark of the second period.
Despite out shooting the Canadiens 10-8 in the middle stanza, the Canadiens found a way to outscore Philly 3-2 in the period creating a tied game for the final twenty minutes with all the momentum in the hosts’ favor.
To start the third period, the Canadiens had the first major scoring chance. As Plekanec motored down the boards to Bob’s left during 4-on-4 action, he threw the puck across the goal-mouth to Josh Gorges, who released a shot that Bob denied with his right leg pad.
Couturier committed his third infraction of the game with a questionable slashing call 3:46 into the third period. There’s no question the stick broke, but considering Couturier only had one hand on his stick while he completed the slash makes the call questionable.
Producing two shots, both of which came in the final nine seconds of the power play, the Canadiens couldn’t convert on their seventh man advantage of the night.
Later in the period, the blast from Meszaros gave the Flyers’ their fourth one-goal lead of the night and a 4-3 lead late in the game.
Following the Meszaros tally, Montreal dominated play in the offensive zone as they threw six shots at Bobrovsky in a three-minute span. Bob needed to make only one save as the Flyers blocked four of the Canadiens’ shots and an Alexei Emelin shot missed wide of the net.
The Flyers’ ability to keep the Canadiens from tying the game at four goals apiece after their brief offensive surge paid off as Plekanec was called for a high-sticking minor with a little over five minutes left in the game.
Failing to score with the man advantage yet again, the Canadiens enjoyed another power play in this penalty-filled match as Talbot was called for a holding minor in the neutral zone with only 2:31 left in the game.
Throwing four pucks at Bobrovsky during their frantic power play in the final minutes of the game, the Canadiens had only two of their shots reach the Russian netminder as they couldn’t register on the late-game opportunity.
After pulling Price for the extra attacker, the Candiens had a few scoring chances before Subban ended their scoring threat by icing the puck from his own defensive zone with only eight seconds left in regulation.
Staying in the Canadiens’ defensive zone for the remainder of the game, the Flyers held on for the 4-3 victory to extend their winning streak to seven games.
Officiating never goes the Flyers’ way, but tonight was just a horribly officiated game for both teams.
For the Flyers, the non-call on the trip to Jagr nearly cost Philly the game as it led to the Canadiens’ third goal of the game and gave them momentum heading into the final 20 minutes of regulation. In addition to that, Couturier didn’t deserve the call since he didn’t even have both his hands on his stick.
For the Canadiens, their disallowed goal was a very questionable call. Cole may have touched Bobrovsky, but it definitely didn’t keep Bobrovsky from making the save.
In addition to making a couple bad calls for both teams, the refs also called 15 minor penalties in the game. Missing calls like the trip on Jagr are even worse considering the refs were handing out penalties left and right.
The Flyers look to extend their winning streak to eight games on Saturday as they host the Boston Bruins at 1pm.
Notes: The Flyers are 2-0-0 at home and 5-0-0 on the road during this win streak..After scoring eight goals in 82 games last season, Talbot already has nine in just 30 games this season…Of his 11 goals with the Flyers over the last two regular season, Meszaros had potted four game-winning goals…With the addition of his three-assist night tonight, Carle has six assists in his the last four games…Bobrovsky’s last two wins have come against the Canadiens as he also started the Flyers’ 3-1 victory at home against MTL on Black Friday…After registering only 4 PIM in his first 29 games in the NHL, Couturier registered 6 PIM tonight…Simmonds has scored a goal in four straight games…Tonight’s second period was the first period the Flyers allowed three goals against since the first period of their game against the Buffalo Sabres last Wednesday…The Flyers improved to 2-1-0 against the Canadiens this season after tonight’s victory and improved to 7-1-0 against the Northeast Division this season (BOS 1-0-0, TOR 1-0-0, BUF 2-0-0, MTL 2-1-0, OTT 1-0-0).