Video: All hell breaks loose after Flyers hang on for 2-1 victory over the Habs

Video: All hell breaks loose after Flyers hang on for 2-1 victory over the Habs

The obvious storyline heading into the Flyers’ Thursday evening tilt with the Montreal Canadiens was the return of Danny Briere to Wells Fargo Center for the first time since he was bought out by the Flyers and subsequently signed with the Canadiens this past summer.

And while Briere didn’t score despite registering three shots on goal in 14 minutes, 13 seconds of ice time, that isn’t the reason most people won’t be talking about him after Thursday’s game.

Philadelphia hung on for an important, 2-1 victory over Montreal but the water-cooler talk on Friday will be all about the scrum that ensued after the final horn between Flyers’ goalie Steve Mason and a couple of Habs.

Check it out for yourself:

Insert uncreative, unfunny line from a writer not based in Philadelphia about the Flyers and goalie fights here.

Anyway, from that video, it’s difficult to see exactly what started the melee but Mason was trying to protect his crease and get a good look at the puck as the Canadiens pressured with just a few seconds remaining. He gave Habs’ captain Brian Gionta a shot to the back. Nothing out of the ordinary there. Goalies do that all the time.

Gionta must’ve taken offense to it and said something incredibly flattering to Mason about how good his 20-save performance was because Mason responded with a crosscheck to the chest. Then it got real.

Gionta and fellow Hab Brendan Gallagher – who are 5 feet 7 inches tall and 5 feet 8 inches tall, respectively - jumped Mason. Matt Read jumped to his goalie’s aid and tried to tangle with Gallagher but the linesmen stepped in before long.  Gallagher then proceeded to mouth off to the Flyers bench on his way to the locker room. Scott Hartnell, of all people, had to hold back Steve Downie from doing something stupid with the rest of the Montreal players at the red line.

The best part was after the ruckus when Ray Emery did his best Mr. Miyagi impression and smiled and congratulated Mason like Mason just gave Gionta and Gallagher the crane kick.

All that aside, it was a big win for the Flyers.

They responded nicely with a full, 60-minute effort and gave up just 21 Montreal shots a night after allowing seven goals and taking a shellacking in Chicago.

Michael Raffl and Claude Giroux – who played on the same line for the first time after Hartnell was bumped down to the second line with Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn - lit the lamp for the Flyers. The goals were the players’ second and sixth on the season, respectively.

The Canadiens cut the lead to one with just under a minute remaining but the Flyers were able to hang on.

The win enabled Philadelphia to stay just two points behind Carolina for the last Metropolitan Division playoff spot and just four points behind Toronto for the last Wild Card playoff spot.

Tim Quarterman: Ben Simmons at PG will 'work out well' for Sixers

Tim Quarterman: Ben Simmons at PG will 'work out well' for Sixers

There are only a handful of people who have played basketball extensively with Ben Simmons, given he has been sidelined thus far into his rookie season with a foot injury. Those who spent Simmons’ freshman year at LSU with him have firsthand insight into the NBA player he has the potential to become.

“He's definitely a team player,” Tim Quarterman said. “He's a pass-first person. He wants to see his teammates do well. I think when he comes back to play, that's what he'll bring to Philly. He's not one of those people who just tries to go out there to get a 100 points. He's a good teammate.”

Quarterman was the Tigers’ point guard during Simmons’ only season in college. Quarterman left school after his junior year and earned a spot on the Trail Blazers' roster. He and Simmons have different stories: Simmons was the first overall pick; Quarterman went undrafted. Simmons has has been out since training camp; Quarterman, while playing sparingly, has experienced live NBA action. Still, the two have shared in the journey of life in the league. 

“It's a cool process going through our rookie season together,” Quarterman said before the Trail Blazers faced the Sixers Friday. “Even though he's not playing right now, he's working to get on the court. I'm sure he'll do great when he gets back out there. I got a chance to talk to him last night. Everything's been good so far.”

The Sixers got a small glimpse of Simmons during training camp before he suffered a Jones fracture on the final day. He recently began participating in 5-on-0 drills. Simmons also has been putting up shots after practice and doing light courtwork during pregame warmups. 

Brett Brown has said he intends to start the 6-foot-10 Simmons at the one spot when he returns. As part of his multi-faceted rehab, Brown has been giving Simmons written tests in which he has to navigate various in-game situations as the point guard. Simmons played point-forward at LSU, where he averaged 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists. 

“He'll be able to space the floor,” Quarterman said of Simmons at the point. “He can see over the defense and make passes that some little guards can't. He can defend. He can move his feet well. I think it'll work out well.”

It remains to be seen when the former teammates will both be suited up in the same NBA game. There is no timetable set for Simmons’ return. The Sixers face the Trail Blazers for their second and final meeting of the regular season on March 9 in Portland. 

“It's cool for both of us to be making the best of our opportunity,” Quarterman said.