Sixty minutes was not enough for the Philadelphia Flyers and Montreal Canadiens. The two teams needed an extra minute to settle a couple scores.
After being thoroughly beaten by the Chicago Blackhawks, Steve Mason and Matt Read showed a little snarl and got into a postgame fight. Mason took exception to Montreal captain Brian Gionta holding his stick in the waning seconds of the third and gave Gionta a hard shove. That is when all hell broke lose.
Brendan Gallagher tackled Mason. Once Gallagher got up, Read grabbed him, and the two exchanged a few punches before the linesman broke it up. Steve Downie had several words with the Montreal bench before both teams retired to their respective dressing rooms. The Flyers skated off the ice as the victors of a 2-1 contest Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
After the debacle against the Blackhawks, head coach Craig Berube decided to shake up the top two lines. Berube swapped Michael Raffl and Scott Hartnell and Berube’s move paid off.
The new top line of Claude Giroux, Jake Voracek and Raffl was buzzing all game and combined for five points in the win. Voracek assisted on Raffl’s and Giroux’s goal. Giroux looked like his old self again, Hartnell played one of his best games of the season and Brayden Schenn could have scored at least once tonight had Price not made some remarkable saves.
The Flyers played a full and complete game against the Canadiens. During the six-game road trip, the Flyers had several good starts – against Dallas and Chicago for example – and would come out flat for the remainder of the game. Thursday night was different. The orange and black kept skating and pressuring in the offensive zone. Had it not been for Carey Price, the Flyers would have won by a much larger margin.
Erik Gustafsson, who replaced Andrej Meszaros, played a solid game, logging 17:32 of ice time, and kept the puck moving all night.
Steve Mason bounced back from two shaky starts and was almost perfect tonight, stopping 20 of 21 shots. He was 55 seconds away from his second shutout of the season before Alex Galchenyuk slipped one behind Mason.
Late in the second period, Alexei Emelin was whistled for a five minute game misconduct for elbowing Steve Downie in the head. The Flyers were unable to score on the power play, but Hartnell missed scoring by inches as he clanked one off the post.
Notes and Takaways:
-Raffl looked good on the first line. If the top line can put together some consistent efforts, this could be a dangerous line.
-Hartnell looked like a new man tonight playing with Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds.
-Thursday night was a huge measuring stick for Mason. He was not his best in his last two starts, and Thursday’s game against the Canadiens showed a small sample of how he would deal with his first test with adversity. If he can continue to play solid, that will only help his cause as the team’s starter.
-Voracek had a golden opportunity on the power play but elected to pass. He missed another shot in the third period. Voracek seems to be going down the same path as Giroux. He just needs to get his confidence back.
-The Flyers squandered another big power play. A good team has to score at least once when given a five-minute uninterrupted man advantage.
-Braydon Coburn led the Flyers in ice time tonight with 22:30.
-Not one of the Flyers centers had a faceoff percentage over 50 percent.
-The Flyers were much more disciplined than the Canadiens tonight. The Flyers had one penalty – which was very questionable – to the four taken by the Canadiens.
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