Flyers Miss Out on Two Points Against Canadiens; Lose 4-1 | 3/28/2024

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The Flyers needed to come into this game hungry for two points. Not counting this game against Montréal, there are only eight games left in the season. Every point counts.

What’s at Stake

The Flyers have had a tough schedule the last couple of weeks. Since March 14, they have played teams that are top eleven in the league. The Flyers were able to earn six points out of the fourteen available during the seven-game stretch. Those points will be crucial as they look to stave off the Capitals, who are one point behind the Flyers. So, how did the Flyers shape up against the Canadiens?

First Period

The Flyers were given the first power-play of the game at, as Arber Xhekaj went to the box for slashing the stick out of Tyson Foerster’s hands. Although the power-play did not prevail, Bobby Brink got a good look for a tip-in from Travis Konecny.

Then, at the 8:23 mark, Travis Sanheim got called for interference on Jake Evans, and penalty kill for the Flyers headed right to work. It didn’t look like Montréal had much to work with, until Nick Suzuki scored on a snap shot. Juraj Slafkovsky and Mike Matheson had the assists. Konecny talked to the officials after the goal and appeared frustrated because he was seemingly interfered with on the Canadiens’ entry into the zone.

After the goal, the Flyers were sluggish. They spent some time in the defensive zone and just couldn’t seem to transition well or get the puck of the zone. The Canadiens sustained pressure heavily and generated momentum. That led to Suzuki passing to Jayden Strubble, and then Jesse Ylönen scored on a wrist shot.

Shortly after, Evans almost scored again, but Sam Ersson was aggressive and stopped the ambush on the net. The Flyers desperately needed a spark. Their punchy game just wasn’t there. At the end of the period, both teams met each other with pleasantries after Scott Laughton was pushed. Xhekaj, Joel Farabee, and Josh Anderson were involved.

The Canadiens outshot the Flyers 6-4 in this period. Sam Ersson Stopped four out of six shots. Not the most ideal period for a team that needs two points.

Going into the second period, the Flyers should have had one word on their mind: response. Their entire identity this season has been focused on their response to adversity.

Score: 2-0 Canadiens

Second Period

After the shenanigans, the period started with a 4-on-4. Xhekaj and Laughton exchanged roughing penalties. That didn’t go so well either, as the Canadiens formed a three-on-two rush up the ice. Thankfully, Ersson came up with a stop. The Flyers were able to string together a 2-on-1 with Owen Tippett in the rush.

He took an extra small crack at Cayden Primeau, and Tippett and Strubble exchanged cross-checks and roughing. They both were subsequently sent to the box. The 4-on-4 fun continued. Slafkovsky had a golden chance, but Ersson came up big with the stop.

Suzuki found himself behind the play in the Flyers’ defensive zone without any Flyers players around. It seemed like Ersson was tired of the Flyers’ mess. He skated out of his creased and was unafraid to challenge him. Ersson prevailed and the Flyers unscathed.

Ronnie Attard was then sent to the box for tripping Ylönen shortly after, and the Flyers’ work seemed to never be done. And so the power kill found itself working again. Thankfully for the Flyers, they killed off the penalty. That resulted in some momentum for them, and Frost almost scored in front of the net.

After Colin White slashed Laughton, the Flyers headed back to the power play. Konecny put the puck on net, but it didn’t go. They were able to sustain some pressure, but it wasn’t enough to score. A few rebounds were allowed by Primeau, but the Flyers could not capitalize.

Ryan Poehling had a great opportunity when Olle Lycksell stole the puck and passed it to him, but like all the other shots, that one didn’t find the back of the net.

At the end of the period, the Flyers and Canadiens benches exchanged some words before they headed up the tunnels for intermission.

Although the Flyers left the second period with somewhat better momentum than the first, they couldn’t put anything on the board to show for it.

Score: 2-0 Canadiens

Third Period

No penalties resulted from the end-of-period scrum. Montreal started the period with two icings within the first 40 seconds.

Poehling almost scored on a redirect, but Primeau stopped it, and the puck remained loose in the paint. Then Garnet Hathaway came crashing in on net, and the puck trickled past the crease. The goal was reviewed for goaltender interference, and it was disallowed because of a kicking motion by Hathaway.

During that sequence, Anderson was caught hooking Laughton. The Flyers were rewarded with a power play for their gritty efforts, but they couldn’t capitalize.

After the power play, Morgan Frost generated a nice sequence to get the puck to the back of the net. But unfortunately, this goal was challenged for offsides, and it was correctly overturned. That’s two over-turned goals for the Flyers in one game. At this point, the Flyers just had to embrace adversity. At that point, it was more than apparent that getting back into the game would not be easy.

Shortly after, Xhekaj went to the box for hooking Poehling. Konecny hit the post, a pretty accurate description of the Flyers’ puck luck for this game.

Suzuki had a goal disallowed because of a high stick, so make that three disallowed goals in this game. Erik Johnson blocked a shot from Cole Caulfield with his entire body, showing that the Flyers are not lacking heart. Konecny, Sanheim and Laughton were knocking on the door around the six-minute mark, but couldn’t get anything to go.

Tempers flared when the Flyers crashed the net and were inches away from tucking the puck home. They were getting in the gritty areas as best as they could. Hathaway and Evans went to the box, and the Flyers pulled Ersson for a 5-on-4.

Suzuki got away with a missed call when he knocked Laughton’s helmet off. Then, he won the face-off, which led to an empty net goal scored by Joel Armia.

John Tortorella decided to keep Ersson pulled after the penalties ended. Tippett finally broke through and scored on a wrist shot. This one counted. After, Tortorella kept Ersson pulled. Evans scored the fourth and final goal for the Canadiens on the empty net.

This just wasn’t the Flyers’ night. They didn’t have their “A Game” in the first and second periods, and it came back to bite them in the third. They’ve got to right the ship against the Blackhawks before they face off against their divisional opponent, the Islanders, on Monday. They’ve still got a date with the Devils, Rangers, and Capitals before the season ends.

Thankfully, the Capitals lost to the Maples Leafs, and the Red Wings lost to the Hurricanes, so they still sit third in the Metro.

The Flyers look to get back in the win column on Saturday when the Blackhawks pay them a visit at the Wells Fargo Center at 7 p.m

Maria Kaffes

Maria Kaffes is a sophomore at Syracuse University and covers the Philadelphia Flyers for Inside The Rink. She is pursuing a degree in public relations with double minors in sport management and creative writing. In addition to her role with Inside The Rink, she is the Syracuse Men's Ice Hockey's head photographer.

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