Better With Popcorn

Flyers Refuse Defeat, Beat Habs 3-2

When the Philadelphia Flyers faced the Montreal Canadiens last week, Carey Price played the type of game in net that had Flyers fans and players scratching their heads in frustration. He played another great game on Monday. However, the Flyers weren’t going to let him stop them single-handedly. After a slow start, a dominating performance in the second and third periods helped the Flyers skate off the Wells Fargo Center ice with two points. Furthermore, they earned a share of the Eastern Conference’s highest point total.

The first period was reminiscent of the problematic stretches the Flyers have come across this season. They simply didn’t keep their legs moving, and poor chances on net coupled with two goals by Maxim Lapierre made matters much worse. The Canadiens outshot the team 15-9, and one couldn’t help but wonder if Price’s brilliance in the four periods against the Flyers would lurk in the back of their minds.

It didn’t. At least, if it did, no one could notice.

Sometimes it’s hard to characterize the type of play that the Flyers have when they’re determined without using the pun ‘flying’. With all puns aside, that’s exactly what the team did the second period. They dominated every inch of the ice. When they fall into lulls it can be a miserable experience for the fans, but it seemed like they were going to be sure that they did all they could to be avoid defeat. No reservations. No lethargy. Just fast-forward hockey.

That type of hockey is what created a second period which saw the Flyers outshoot the Canadiens emphatically. In the second the team had twenty one shots on net, while the Habs had only six. Although the disparity was impressive, the team only tallied once on a Ville Leino one-timer that was centered on a three-on-two break by Daniel Briere. The Flyers finally moved Price laterally and broke his aura of invincibility. Nonetheless, they trailed going into the third despite holding a 30-17 advantage in shots on goal.

The third period was pretty much more of the same for the home team, yet it yielded better results. Claude Giroux tied the game at two just two minutes in, and they continued to apply a ton of pressure to the Habs. Eventually, it would lead to something that Flyers fans had clamored for all season, yet failed to see. About eight minutes into the second period, James van Riemsdyk finally put a tally on his score sheet for the season. The goal was beautifully set up by Mike Richards’ patience and the subsequent cross-ice pass by defenseman Braydon Coburn. The Canadiens generated quality chances through the remainder of the game, yet they were still outshot by four in the third period.

I think most Flyers fans would agree that tonight was a significant victory if not for anything other than the mental toughness the team displayed. Before tonight's contest, the Canadiens hadn’t lost a game in which they held a lead going into the third period. It would have been easy for Flyers teams of past to feel beaten by Price and grow frustrated, take un-disciplined penalties, and so forth. However, this time the Flyers found a way to simply take their game to another level by ratcheting up the pressure on Price and the Habs. In the end, Price walked away with more gaudy statistics on his resumé. He had 42 saves and a save percentage of 93.3%.

Because of a relentless Flyers effort, he also walked away with a regulation loss.

As I demolish the countdown clock to JVR’s first goal, feel free to follow me at www.twitter.com/mtrible or email me at mtrible@thecheckingline.com