For the first time in just under a year, the Philadelphia Flyers have reached a three-game win streak thanks to a 5-3 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night. Erik Gustafsson had the game-winner late in regulation, while Jake Voracek’s empty netter in the final minute of play sealed the deal.
Alexei Emelin, Brandon Prust, and David Desharnais scored for the Canadiens, while Sean Couturier, Simon Gagne, Wayne Simmonds, Gustafsson, and Voracek handled the scoring for Philadelphia.
Though Ilya Bryzgalov only faced a total of 17 Montreal shots, he allowed three goals, including one where it appeared he ducked to get out of the puck’s way on a deflected shot.
Carey Price was sharp in net for the Canadiens, but was unable to hold down the fort as he had done many times in the past against Philly. He stopped 30 shots but allowed four to slip by.
Emelin’s goal was the lone tally in the first period. It would take until the second for things to get a little wild.
Less than five minutes into the second, Couturier scored to tie the game at one. Gagne scored about ten minutes later, but while the fans were celebrating, most missed Prust’s goal to tie the game again. Twenty seconds later, Desharnais scored again for the Habs, and things began to look bleak for the Flyers.
Despite the 3-2 lead that Montreal held after the second period, Flyers Coach Peter Laviolette was mostly pleased with his team’s effort.
“I really liked our second period, too. It was just unfortunate what happened at the end, where they scored a couple goals,” Laviolette said.
The Canadiens held the lead for a good chunk of the third period. It wasn’t until about fifteen minutes in that Philadelphia was able to tie it up, and their momentum only grew from there.
Gustafsson’s goal came with less than five minutes left in the third, and despite Montreal’s best efforts, they were unable to come back. Once Voracek scored the empty-netter, it was all over.
Matt Read was originally credited with Gustafsson’s goal, but it was changed after the game ended. When the change was announced, Gus’ teammates applauded him in the locker room, and Simon Gagne reportedly talked about how he was rooting for the younger guys to do well.
Gagne wasn’t the only one pleased with Gustafsson’s performance. Laviolette also praised the young defenseman: ”There was a lot of poise on that last play that he made at the net.”
Notes: Tonight’s goal was Sean Couturier’s first since January 27… The Flyers have not carried a three-game win streak since March 10, 2012… Zac Rinaldo was injured in the second period and did not return to the game. The team reported he has a “lower-body injury”. UPDATE: CSN’s Lisa Hillary reported that Rinaldo is in a walking boot and will likely not travel with the team to Toronto… Flyers will take on the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night, in their 9th back-to-back series of the season and their third matchup against the Leafs.