As Bill Clement likes to say, “Pick the part about hockey
you like the most, and you’ll find it in this one.” That certainly was the case
at the Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday night where the Flyers launched their
second third-period comeback in as many games to defeat the Montreal Canadiens
5-3. Best of all, the victory puts the Orange & Black on their first
three-game winning streak of the season.
The Flyers were trailing deep into the third period, but were
skating as if all the momentum in the world was on their side. The action was
constantly forcing the issue at Montreal’s end, causing Philadelphia to rack up a 14-2 shot
advantage over the final 20 minutes. They were winning the battles, and some of
the puck movement while on the attack was breathtaking
Take the go-ahead goal for instance. The score itself wasn’t
pretty, Erik Gustafsson’s pass intended for Matt Read in front banking into the
net off of Canadiens defenseman Francis Bouillion as it turned out. The setup itself
was a thing of beauty though.
Jakub Voracek emerged from the corner with possession, then slipped
a cross-ice pass between Alex Galchenyuk’s legs. Claude Giroux bluffed the shot
as he was accepting the transfer, creating the extra millisecond that was necessary
to shuffle the puck softly behind his back. Gustafsson collected it off of his
skate, maneuvered past the outstretched body of David Drewiske, and fed the
disc in to Read.
Call it friendly fire, or call it “lucky” as Montreal netminder
Carey Price explained to reporters after the game. Either way, Gustafsson’s
second career NHL goal results in two huge points in the standings for the
Among other plays the Canadiens probably considered unlucky:
Sean Couturier snapping his lengthy goal-scoring drought with another deflection off
of one of Price’s teammates; Oliver Lauridsen’s blast from the point bouncing
off the boards and right to Simon Gagne to give the rookie defenseman his first
NHL point; and Bruno Gervais whipping a shot off the skate of a bloodied Wayne
Simmonds to tie the game. The decisive tally would occur just 90 seconds after Simmer’s 12th
of the season.
Conveniently, only Jakub Voracek’s empty-netter could not be
traced to some element of luck.
Of course we kid Mr. Price, as Ilya Bryzgalov has had a
little of that going on himself this season. Speak of the devil, Bryz didn’t
seem rattled by the impending arrival of Steve Mason, though he was only called
upon to face 17 shots, stopping 14. That said his performance was better than
the numbers might indicate – even despite one humorous reaction.
There were also plenty of fisticuffs in addition to the
scheduled hockey game. Brayden Schenn and P.K. Subban got a little mixed up as
the first period was coming to a close, which would set the tone for
back-to-back fights by Simmonds and Zac Rinaldo later, neither of which was
anything to write home about.
Giroux’s scuffle with Lars Eller early in the third period
was very noteworthy however. As you can see from the photo below, the
gloves were off and punches were thrown, yet the officials chalked this one up
to “boys will be boys” and left them both off with roughing minors. The energy
may very well have been in Philly’s favor already, but who doesn’t get fired up
when their captain decides to get his hands dirty?
Don’t look now, but that’s seven points out of the last
eight possible now for the Flyers, their lone loss during that span coming in a
shootout with the Islanders – another tilt in which they came back from a
third-period deficit. That puts them four points back of a playoff berth with
12 to go, and with this newfound resilience, clearly these guys aren't ready to be put away. It’s still an uphill battle to make the postseason, but the Bullies have
finally come to fight.
At least they're making things interesting anyway.
>> BOX SCORE [Flyers.com]
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