The Philadelphia Flyers finished off a five game home stand with a huge 5-3 over the Montreal Canadiens, giving the team a season high three game winning streak. The Flyers need every point they can get at this point in the season and were forced to dig deep and mount yet another comeback to steal points that looked as though they were lost late in the third period. The Flyers(16-17-3, 35 pts) finished the home tilt at 3-1-1 and currently sit at 11th in the Easter Conference standings and just four points out of the final playoff spot.
Montreal started the scoring last night when Alexei Yemelin put the Canadiens on the board with a shot from the blue line where Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov appeared to be screened. Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn found himself on his knees in front of Bryzgalov as the goal was scored instead of attempting to clear the deck in front of the goalie.
The Flyers trailed 1-0 and started the second period on the penalty kill after Brayden Schenn was goaded into an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty by Habs defensemen P.K. Subban at the end of the first period.
The Flyers were able to kill the penalty to start the second and soon after Wayne Simmonds fought Montreal’s Travis Moen in an effort to get his teammates going. Not to be outdone, Flyers winger Zac Rinaldo fought Brandon Prust on the ensuing faceoff after the Simmonds/Moen fight.
Just over two minutes after the back-to-back fighting majors, the Flyers Sean Couturier tied the game at 1-1 with a goal that deflected off the Habs Subban and past goalie Carey Price. For Couturier, the embattled second year player who has been one of the more convenient whipping boys for the team’s struggles, the goal was his third of the season and first since January 27th.
The Flyers took the lead with less than five minutes left in the second period when Luke Schenn fired a shot off of the boards behind Price that ricocheted right to Simon Gagne who buried the puck to give his team a 2-1 lead.
In typical Flyers fashion this season, the lead did not last long. The tie didn’t last long either. With the Flyers up 2-1, Montreal converted a neutral zone turnover into a game tying Prust goal just 46 seconds after Gange had given them the lead.
Exactly twenty seconds after the Prust goal, David Desharnais scored his ninth goal of the season on a turn-around shot that appeared to deflect off of Brayden Schenn’s stick and knuckle in such a manner that had Bryzgalov awkwardly ducking as the puck went past him and into the net.
The Flyers were down 3-2 after two and had only won game all season when trailing heading into the third period.
With time winding down in the third, the Flyers were able to get the equalizer when Kimmo Timonen had a nice keep in the offensive zone and got the puck to Bruno Gervais who then took a shot at the net that deflected off of Simmonds skate in front and past Price.
A little over a minute after getting the tying goal, defenseman Erik Gustafsson put a nice pass on net for Matt Read, who couldn’t convert, when the puck deflected again off a Canadiens player and gave the Flyers a 4-3 lead.
Jakub Voracek would add an empty net goal with 39 seconds left to seal the victory.
This is another win that, if the Flyers put together a run to get into the playoffs, will be looked at as a defining moment for a team that appears to be coming together late in the shortened season season. Nobody wants to overstate a three game winning streak and the Flyers have played well on home ice this season, however, this team has had a look and attitude about them over the last week that we have not seen this season.
The bad breaks and bounces that just weren’t going the way of this squad seem to be falling in the Flyers favor now. The team has now played 36 games, which would not even be at the half way point of a regular NHL season. They are also playing with a lot of younger players and have been dealing with injuries all season and coming off a lockout and virtually no camp. It is not out of the realm of possibility that this hockey team may be finding a groove and putting some things together. The question remains is will they have enough time?
The Flyers need to keep on rolling and they will have to do it on the road now as they start a three game trip away from home tonight in Toronto.
The Flyers lost Rinaldo last night to a lower body injury and his status is uncertain for tonight. It has also been stated that Bryzgalov will be getting the start tonight, his 21st in a row, and newly acquired Steve Mason will most likely be in net Saturday at Winnipeg.Tags: Ilya Bryzgalov, Kimmo Timonen, Montreal Canadiens, NHL, Philadelphia Flyers, Sean Couturier, Simon Gagne, Wayne Simmonds, win, Zac Rinaldo