Claude Giroux's second-period goal ended up being the game-winner. (USA Today Images)
This was the type of game the Flyers needed.
Coming off a disappointing 2-3-1 road trip and one of their worst performances of the season in Wednesday’s 7-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, the Flyers rebounded for a 2-1 victory over the red-hot Montreal Canadiens at the Wells Fargo Center on Thursday.
Head coach Craig Berube switched things up a bit for Thursday’s tilt. He placed Michael Raffl on the first line with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek and dropped Scott Hartnell down to the second line with Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds.
Voracek had a jump to his step and picked up the primary assist on both Flyers goals. The 24-year-old now has two goals and two assists in his past three games.
At the 13:57 mark of the first period, Voracek fed Raffl with a brilliant pass that Raffl fired past Canadiens netminder Carey Price to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead (see 10 observations).
"G (Claude Giroux) did really good work after the last faceoff," Raffl said. "He got the puck to Jake behind the net and he's so strong one against one. I was just trying to get open in the slot and he hit me perfect. It was a pretty nice goal, I guess."
That wasn’t the only nice goal scored, either.
Voracek picked up his second assist of the game when he found Giroux streaking down the wing at the 9:43 mark in the second period. Giroux handled Voracek’s pass and wristed a wicked shot past Price for his sixth goal of the season.
The Canadiens made things interesting when they scored with 55 seconds remaining, but the Flyers were able to hold on for the win over a Montreal team that had went 9-1-1 in its last 11 contests.
The Flyers weren’t able to capitalize on any of their three power-play attempts.
Canadiens defenseman Alexei Emelin was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for elbowing Flyers forward Steve Downie in the second period, but the Flyers failed to generate many scoring chances during that opportunity (see video).
What the Flyers were able to do was stay disciplined. They took just one penalty -- Sean Couturier’s high-sticking minor in the first -- and killed it off.
Steve Mason wasn’t really tested against Montreal, but he did make a few brilliant saves. He fell just short of his second shutout of the season. He stopped 20 of 21 shots and improved to 11-9-3 this season.
Price deserved better. He kept things competitive for the Habs, stopping 25 of 27 shots.
Canadiens captain Brian Gionta had a goal waved off with just over six minutes remaining in the third period after he pushed the puck in the net with his hand. Nice try.
The Flyers signed left winger Chris VandeVelde to a one-year deal and returned forward Tye McGinn to the Adirondack Phantoms on Thursday (see story).
Berube said before the game that McGinn was still “under the weather” and VandeVelde was brought up because he was the extra forward the Flyers needed.
VandeVelde took part in warmups and made his Flyers debut against the Canadiens, centering Adam Hall and Zac Rinaldo.
Enforcer Jay Rosehill and defensemen Andrej Meszaros and Hal Gill were all healthy scratches.
Erik Gustafsson, who last played on Nov. 27 against the Tampa Bay Lightning, took over for Meszaros on the blueline. VandeVelde replaced enforcer Jay Rosehill in the lineup.
The Flyers have two days off before traveling to Washington on Sunday for the first game of a home-and-home with the Capitals. The back-end of that series will be played Tuesday at the Wells Fargo Center.
In their first meeting with the Caps this season, the Flyers were lit up 7-0 in front of their home crowd on Nov. 1.