Philadelphia Flyers advance to second round with 3-2 win over Canadiens

Carter Hart #79 of the Philadelphia Flyers and Carey Price #31 of the Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Carter Hart #79 of the Philadelphia Flyers and Carey Price #31 of the Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia Flyers got a good fight from the Montreal Canadiens, but they closed them out with a 3-2 win in Game 6.

With a few fortunate bounces, the Philadelphia Flyers were able to close out their first round series in six games with a 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens.

Montreal was without the services of Brendan Gallagher Friday night after he suffered a broken jaw injury at the end of Game 5 from a cross-check to the face by Flyers defenseman Matt Niskanen. Niskanen was suspended one game for the incident.

Philadelphia took a quick lead just 28 seconds into the game after a lucky bounce got by Carey Price. Ivan Provorov shot the puck from the point and the puck deflected off of Shea Weber into the back of night, putting the Flyers up by one less than thirty seconds into the game.

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Montreal’s misfortunes quickly added on after Kevin Hayes put away his first goal of the postseason, making the score 2-0. Shortly after the Flyers’ first powerplay of the game came to an end, Hayes tried centering the puck to the slot, but Montreal’s Artturi Lehkonen deflected the puck through Carey Price’s five-hole.

Out of the eleven goals scored by Philadelphia scored in this round of the playoffs, six of them were deflected off of a Montreal player, according to the Sportsnet broadcast team.

Philadelphia had an early two goal lead off of just three shots and Montreal’s chances of forcing a game seven seemed to be quickly slipping away. In Game 5, a goal and an assist by Montreal’s Nick Suzuki helped the Canadiens pull off the comeback win to force a game six. When Montreal needed an energy spark in game six, the 21-year-old rookie did just that.

On the powerplay, Joel Armia fired a shot from the slot, which hit Suzuki. Suzuki found the puck in front of goal and jammed it past Carter Hart, making it a one goal game.

Heading into the second, Montreal had been dominating the play despite being down 2-1. Philadelphia was playing extremely defensive and wasn’t generating a lot of offensive chances. One puck going Montreal’s way and Philadelphia could have been in a tough spot.

Philadelphia caught a break as Montreal couldn’t find the tying goal after peppering Hart with shot after shot. On Philly’s seventh shot of the game, Michael Raffl was the trailer on an odd-man rush. He received a pass in the slot and shot the puck off the inside of the post. The puck rolled under the pad of Price and then banked off of his leg into the goal. Philadelphia had a 3-1 lead off of just seven shots.

Montreal was down two despite being the more dominant team up to that point in the game. Team morale could have very likely brought the energy down and put the game to bed. However, Nick Suzuki once again had another energy spark in him.

Less than two minutes after Raffl’s goal, Jonathan Drouin made a pass across the crease to Suzuki. Suzuki shot a one timer from an off angle and beat Hart, once again cutting the lead to one.

From that point on, Montreal was buzzing while Philadelphia changed their game plan to focus solely on defense. The Flyers had just six shots in the second period.

The third period was under way and Philadelphia was 20 minutes away from moving on to round two of the playoffs.

The Flyers decided to “park the bus” in the third by getting the puck in deep after they crossed the red line. The Flyers knew that the Canadiens were all over them in the offensive zone and focused their energy on preserving the one goal lead. Philly had five shots in the third period and 17 in the whole game. The Flyers were also 0/4 on the power play.

Despite outshooting the Flyers by nearly double the shots in the third period, Montreal couldn’t sneak another puck past Carter Hart as the time on their season quickly winded down.

The 24th ranked Montreal Canadiens surprised everyone this postseason. They defeated the fifth Pittsburgh Penguins in four games and took the top seeded Flyers to the end of game six. Carey Price played phenomenal this series and he reminded everyone why he is still one of, if not the best goalie in the world.

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This was the Flyers first playoff series win since 2012. Philadelphia will move on to play the New York Islanders in round two of the playoffs.