Wrap: Flyers Claim 3-2 OT win over Habs; Morin Re-Tears Right ACL
The Philadelphia Flyers wrapped up a three-game homestand with a 3-2 overtime win against the Montreal Canadiens at the Wells Fargo Center on Thursday night.
With the win, the Flyers improved to 8-5-2 through 15 games and 6-1-1 at home. The team's 18 points is their most through 15 games since starting the 2011-12 season with 19 points (8-4-3) at the same juncture.
A Sean Couturier goal that dribbled through under Carey Price's arm after using defenseman Victor Mete as a screen ended the game at 55-seconds of OT.
The ice was tilted for most of the first two periods. After an early wave of pressure by the Habs, the Flyers started to break cleanly out of their own zone, generate regular entries in the Montreal and set up a forecheck that created numerous Habs turnovers.
"After, I would say the first five minutes, where they showed they got a lot of speed and skill. I thought we were able to slow them down a little bit and we managed the puck better. We looked quick, we looked fast, we were making plays. If it wasn’t for their goaltender, the game wouldn’t have been close, obviously," Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said.
However, the Flyers saw a 2-0 lead slip away. Phenomenal Montreal goaltending by Price (40 saves on 42 shots in regulation), an 0-for-6 night on the power play and a failed Carsen Twarynski penalty shot enabled the Habs to hang around and steal a regulation point they didn't deserve.
Phil Myers (1st) and James van Riemsdyk (4th) scored in regulation for Philly. Ben Chiarot (3rd) and Shea Weber (3rd) answered for Montreal.
"When you have a two-goal lead like that, you don’t want to squander that. Especially like you said, the shots were pretty tilted, and we were doing a lot of good things, but give them credit they are a good team. It is not going to be easy against a team like that. It takes a full 60 and sometimes more, so we are happy to get out with the result that we did," van Riemsdyk said.
Carter Hart stopped 22 of 24 shots to earn the win. He was very busy early, and tested multiple times and then saw hardly any rubber for long stretches. The victory is his first against goaltending idol Price.
As has often been the case, the Couturier line was the Flyers best early in the game, creating the team's first extended offensive zone puck possession and their first two scoring chances. The latter was a prime chance for Travis Konecny off the rush. At the other end of the ice, Hart made 9 saves through the first 10 minutes.
A seeing-eye point shot by Myers, aided by the down-low hustle and later a screen by Carsen Twarynski, gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead at 13:51 on what was officially an unassisted goal.
Very shortly thereafter, Price made a 10-bell stick save on Couturier from point-blank range to hold the score. Montreal continued to have issues dealing with the Flyers forecheck.
"I thought their forward was going to come up with the puck so I just tried to be real aggressive and keep it in and I ended up having a little bit of time there and tried to put it on net. Thankfully it went in and I’ll take it," Myers said.
First period shots ended up 18-12 in the Flyers' favor after Philly generated each of the last eight shots on goal in the period. Shots at 5-on-5 were 17-12, with the Flyers posting a 56.86 corsi for percentage (29 shot attempts for, 22 against) and a 51.87 expected goals-for percentage.
Moments after the Flyers' first power play expired, they attacked relentlessly in a scramble around the net. Finally, at the 48-second mark, JVR potted one for a 2-0 lead. Jakub Voracek and Claude Giroux got the assists.
On the next shift, Hart made a strong save with no rebound in his toughest chance since early in the first period. The ice quickly went back to being heavily tilted in the Flyers' favor. Philly bombarded Price with rubber, and the Montreal goalie singlehandedly kept the game within reach for his team.
The Flyers had 30 shots and 18 scoring chances -- 10 of the high-danger variety -- by the time the game was barely halfway through regulation.
Suddenly, after one shift spent in the Flyers' zone, the Habs then generated a 3-on-2 rush with speed through the neutral zone on the next one to cut the gap to 2-1.
Voracek initially missed a stick-check attempt on Phillip Danault in the neutral zone and was unable to get back into the play in time before a pinching Chiarot beat Hayes to a Nick Cousins rebound in the slot and made it a 2-1 game.
Second period shots ended up 15-6 in Philly's favor (34-19 overall). Through 40 minutes, the Flyers had a 27-19 shot edge at 5-on-5, a 57.33 Corsi for percentage (43 shot attempts to 32) and a 60.88 expected goals-for percentage -- but only a 2-1 lead to show for it.
"I think the first half of the game and at the end there I think we just were right in their face. We didn’t really give them much time and space to make many plays and they turned over the puck a bit which led to our offense. We got away from that, kind of mid to late part of the game which is why they came back. But overall if we can put a full 60 like that then, yes, we’ll be pretty happy," Joel Farabee said.
At 4:05 of the third period, Montreal drew even. A bit of a puck misplay behind the net by Hart resulted in Ivan Provorov being pressured in a turnover on a clearing attempt. Weber then fired a shot into the net to tie the game at 2-2. Jonathan Drouin had the lone assist.
The Flyers had their 5th and 6th power play opportunities go by the wayside after starting to retake 5-on-5 control. Carsen Twarynski then had a penalty shot opportunity on Price after being fouled by Weber on a breakaway at 13:17. Twarynski went straight in and was stopped on a mid-slot snap shot by a blocker save.
Third period shots were 8-5 in the Flyers' favor. In overtime, at the 55-second mark, Couturier used Mete as a screen and fired off a shot that dribbled in under Price's left arm. The goalie got some of the puck but not enough.
The Flyers will not practice on Friday. On Saturday, they begin a tough back-to-back on the road in Toronto and Boston. The team will have a morning skate in Toronto.
MORIN RE-TEARS ACL
While the Flyers were in their post-game locker room, general manager Chuck Fletcher released a statement to the media with some awful news: defenseman Samuel Morin, in a conditioning assignment game for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms against the Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins on Thursday night, suffered a torn right ACL.
It is the same knee that Morin seriously injured 18 months ago when he tore his ACL in a Calder Cup playoff game in Charlotte. Morin, who missed most of the 2017-18 season with a recurring core muscle issue and then all but the tail end of last season due to ACL rehab, will now miss the remainder of the 2019-20 season and face another nearly year-long rehab process.
Teammates and head coach Alain Vigneault already knew about the injury earlier in the day.
"You never want to see one of your good buddies get hurt. After what he’s been through, I’m here for him. You never want to see anybody get hurt. It really sucks," Phil Myers said.
Added head coach Alain Vigneault, "I saw Sam before the game I mean there’s no doubt that we all feel for him. There’s a kid that spent the whole summer here trying to get himself back to playing. He accepted going to the minors to play some game and I guess on a nothing play, he heard his knee pop. Very unfortunate. Hopefully, he’ll want to put himself through [the rehab work] again and give himself another chance to play."
From an immediate standpoint, Morin's salary will count against the Flyers' cap for the remainder of this season although he can be placed on LTIR if the space is needed under the ceiling.