The Montreal Canadiens are the true underdog of this tournament. They come in with zero expectations, but could surprise, especially if they meet up with the Flyers.
Coming in as the final seed in the Eastern Conference, the Montreal Canadiens aren’t expected to make much noise. Especially since they’ll be taking on the Pittsburgh Penguins. But what happens if they make it to face the Flyers?
Well, there is only one way that can happen. While the Canadiens would have to defeat the Penguins, the Flyers would essentially have to run the table in round-robin. The two can only meet if Philadelphia is the top seed.
The number one seed in the conference would face the highest remaining seed from the play-in round. Which would give the Canadiens a matchup with whomever captures that top seed.
While improbable, it’s not impossible for this scenario to take place. The Penguin could underestimate Montreal. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Carey Price steals a game or two.
It’s also possible that the Flyers could reclaim their late season magic. The same magic that allowed them to win nine of their last ten comes to come within one point of Metro Division crown.
They faired well against the Canadiens this season, coming out on top in two of their three games.
It was Sean Couturier who was the hero like he has been many times before.
November 7th: 3-2 Flyers (OT)
It was a little over a month into the season when the two teams met for the first time. It was a game in which the Canadiens did not have a single power play, while the Flyers has six.
Special teams did not play a factor, though, as Philadelphia failed to capitalize on every single chance they had. The game might’ve gone a lot different if they had.
But they did get the first two goals of this game. Phillipe Myers opened up the scoring over midway through the first period. The best way to beat Price is to make sure he doesn’t see the puck. It was a loose puck at the blue line that Myers fired through traffic.
James van Riemsdyk put the team up 2-0 with a goal 49 seconds into the second period. It came on the tail end of a power play. Jakub Voracek’s shot was stopped but the rebound bounced over the stick of Paul Byron and right to van Riemsdyk.
The Canadiens finally got on the board over midway through the game. And that was despite having only two shots through the first 13:41 of the second period. It was Ben Chiarot would buried to rebound past Carter Hart.
Montreal would then tie it up in the early stages of the third period. A Shea Weber blast would even this one up a 2-2. And that’s where we would stand heading into overtime. It was a quick one though.
It only took one shot for the Flyers to take this one. And it once again came making sure Price couldn’t see it. Couturier used Victor Mete as a screen, shooting the puck between his legs.
It went between the body and arm of Price as it trickled across the goal line. That gave the Flyers points in four straight games, at the time their longest streak of the season.
The two met again at the end of the month, needing overtime once more. It was a different hero for the Flyers this time.
November 30th: 4-3 Flyers (OT)
It would end up being a back and forth game throughout. The Canadiens had two different one goal leads in this one. The Flyers held one of their own early in the third. It was Oskar Lindblom would tied things up first.
It wouldn’t come until the second period when he’d grab his 11th of the season. This was the first of three goals in the span of just over a minute.
The Flyers took their first lead early in the third as Travis Konecny grabbed his first goal in 10 games. It was once again Tatar would tied things up less than two minutes later.
It was a game the Canadiens absolutely should’ve won. They outscored the Flyers 42-28 heading into the extra period. But Philadelphia once again scored on the only shot of overtime.
It was Ivan Provorov who took matters into his own hands. He skated around Max Domi, toe-dragging the puck between his legs. He then cut across the goalmouth to score on Keith Kinkaid. This was 31 seconds into overtime.
That moved Philadelphia to 5-0-1 in their last six games. They couldn’t find the same heroics in their last meeting with Montreal.
January 16th: 4-1 Canadiens
It was a little over two months before the teams met for the final time this season. The score leads on to believe it was a blowout all around. But it was a game Price made sure the Canadiens would win.
The shot totals were fairly even as the Flyers had the slight 41-40 edge. Philadelphia actually scored the first goal of this game late in the first period. Joel Farabee scored, having just been recalled from the Phantoms.
However, Tatar scored 18 seconds later en route to three more goals from the Canadiens. Scott Laughton almost gave the Flyers the lead short handed, but Price made the save on the breakaway.
It was Alex Lyon’s first game of the season as he did everything he could to try and keep the Flyers in the game. Making 36 saves is all the team could’ve asked from him.
They simply couldn’t beat Price on the other end. And that is something that can very easily happen when you take on Montreal.
Price has the ability to steal a game for the Canadiens. Montreal did grab four goals in the final game, but it was Price that allowed them to keep that lead.
That is a big factor going into a series with Montreal. Finding ways to beat Price on a regular basis is key. If you could do that, you stand a good chance of beating them.