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.

Best of NHL: Patrick Kane hat trick lifts Blackhawks over Coyotes

Best of NHL: Patrick Kane hat trick lifts Blackhawks over Coyotes

CHICAGO -- Patrick Kane scored three goals for his third career hat trick to lead the surging Chicago Blackhawks past the Arizona Coyotes 6-3 on Thursday night for their third straight win and eighth in nine games.

Kane has 23 goals to lead Chicago, which closed within three points behind first-place Minnesota in the Central Division and Western Conference.

Rookies Nick Schmaltz and Ryan Hartman each had a goal and assist. Blackhawks defenseman Michal Rozsival scored his first goal of the season in his first game since Jan. 15.

Chicago captain Jonathan Toews added two assists to extend his points scoring streak to five games and increase his output to 22 points in his past 13.

Jakob Chychrun, Ryan White and Radim Vrbata scored for the Coyotes. Chychrun and Vrbata each scored for the second straight game (see full recap).

Rangers outlast Maple Leafs in shootout
TORONTO -- Mika Zibanejad scored the shootout winner and the New York Rangers continued a strong February with a 2-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night.

Henrik Lundqvist made 32 saves and J.T. Miller scored the game-tying goal in the third period for the Rangers, who improved to 8-1-1 this month.

New York moved into third place in the Metropolitan Division with 80 points.

Connor Brown scored for Toronto, which fell to 1-7 in shootouts this season. Frederik Andersen had a stellar performance in defeat with 37 saves.

The Leafs hold the third playoff spot in the Atlantic Division (68 points), two points back of Ottawa (70) and four back of Montreal (see full recap).

Islanders shut out Canadiens
MONTREAL -- Rookie Anthony Beauvillier scored in the first period, Thomas Greiss made 24 saves, and the New York Islanders beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-0 Thursday night.

Anders Lee scored in the second period and John Tavares added an empty-netter in the final minute to seal the Islanders' third straight win. New York has won the first two games on a crucial nine-game road swing and improved to 12-4-2 since interim coach Doug Weight replaced the fired Jack Capuano.

Josh Bailey and Brock Nelson each had two assists, and Greiss got his third shutout of the season.

Carey Price finished with 21 saves as the Canadiens lost coach Claude Julien's 1,000th NHL game. Montreal is 1-2-0 since Julien replaced Michel Therrien last week and has totaled just 14 goals while going 2-7-1 in the last 10 games, including four shutouts (see full recap).

Best of NBA: Rockets crush Pelicans to spoil Cousins' debut

Best of NBA: Rockets crush Pelicans to spoil Cousins' debut

NEW ORLEANS -- The Boogie-and-Brow era in New Orleans is off to a highly inauspicious start.

The Pelicans' tandem of newly acquired All-Star DeMarcus Cousins and All-Star Game MVP Anthony Davis was no match for the surging Houston Rockets on Thursday night.

Reserve Lou Williams hit seven 3-pointers and scored 27 points in his Rockets debut, and Houston crushed New Orleans, 129-99.

Davis had 29 points, and Cousins finished with 27 points and 14 rebounds. But New Orleans turned the ball over 20 times couldn't keep pace with the firepower of the Rockets, who hit 20 3-pointers.

Eric Gordon scored 19 points and Ryan Anderson added 17 in both players' first game in New Orleans since leaving the Pelicans. James Harden had 13 points and 14 assists (see full recap).

LeBron triple-double powers Cavs past Knicks
CLEVELAND -- LeBron James recorded his 48th career triple-double and Kyrie Irving scored 23 points, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 119-104 victory over the New York Knicks, who hung on to superstar Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose at Thursday's trade deadline.

James scored 18 points and had 13 rebounds with 15 assists for his sixth triple-double of the season.

Anthony, the subject of trade rumors because of a strained relationship with Knicks President of Basketball Operations Phil Jackson, scored 20 points, going 9 of 25 from the field.

Kyle Korver scored 20 points for Cleveland, which is 8-1 in February and has beaten New York 10 straight times.

Courtney Lee had 25 points for New York, which has lost six of seven and is 12th in the Eastern Conference playoff race (see full recap).

Pistons rally from 18 down to beat Hornets in OT
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 33 points, including three 3-pointers late in the fourth quarter during a pulsating Detroit rally, and the Pistons outlasted the Charlotte Hornets 114-108 in overtime Thursday night.

Caldwell-Pope scored Detroit's last 11 points of regulation, and his 3-pointer with 18.2 seconds to play tied the game at 100. Kemba Walker scored Charlotte's final nine points of the fourth, but the Pistons forced him to give up the ball on the last possession, and Marco Belinelli missed a 3-pointer that could have won it.

Detroit, which was behind by 18 in the third quarter, never trailed in the overtime. Caldwell-Pope's 3-pointer with 55 seconds remaining put the Pistons up 110-102.

Charlotte led 85-70 at the start of the fourth but missed 14 of its first 15 shots in the period, enabling Detroit to cut into the lead.

Walker scored 34 points. Tobias Harris had 25 for the Pistons (see full recap).