In the first game of their home-and-home series against the Canadiens, the Flyers picked up their third consecutive 3-2 win.
BY JAY BOEHMER, Staff Writer
The Flyers and Canadiens exchanged some inconsistent bursts of offensive pressure, with the Flyers holding them off with 11 blocked shots in the first ten minutes. It wasn’t until the last five minutes of the first that the Flyers took control of the game. Late in the period, the Flyers got a power play chance in front and Jeff Carter slammed home a rebound to jump to the 1-0 lead.
Philly started the second period with a surge of offense that led to a Jeff Carter slap shot goal from the point for his and the Flyers’ second of the night. Two minutes later, defenseman Matt Carle fired a wrist shot from the blue line that was deflected on its way past goalie Carey Price to increase the lead to three going into the third period.
The third started slow and sloppy for the Flyers, who gave up two goals in the first three minutes by Glen Metropolit and Dominic Moore, respectively to make the score 3-2. The Flyers had a series of power plays and failed to capitalize. With 58 seconds remaining, Darrol Powe received a boarding major that put the Flyers down a man. Despite a fiery scrum, the Flyers kept the puck out to stay ahead 3-2.
KEYS TO THE GAME:
Jeff Carter: Carter, who now has goals in three consecutive games, scored two tonight to rise to 10 goals in his last 13 games and 26 total on the season.
Scott Hartnell: Hartnell picked up assists on both of Carter’s goals, including a pass that found its way from below the offensive goal line all the way to the blue line and Jeff Carter’s stick.
Michael Leighton: Increasing his record with the Flyers to 11-4-1, Leighton has come in when Philly needed him most and done his job without fail. Last night he stopped 23 of 25 Montreal shots, including several dangerous late game shifts, to hold his team in for the 3-2 win.
Matt Carle: Matt Carle had 5 shots on the night to supplement his solid defensive play, including the eventual game-winning goal that changed directions and found the back of the net to put the Flyers ahead by three goals in the second.
Flyers D: With the aid of reliable goaltending, the Flyers have given up 2 goals or less in 10 of their last 11 games. Last night against the Canadiens, they blocked about 30 shots, including some that saw players limp off the ice only to return moments later and continue to grind it out.
The Canadiens had won six straight and had an 8-0-1 record in their last nine games in the Wachovia Center. They were also coming hot off a win against the red hot streaking Washington Capitals. The Flyers seemed due to snap this streak. All systems were go as they gained control of the game in the first and made it show with a 1-0 lead that increased to 3-0 as soon as they could get back on the ice from intermission.
Unfortunately, they seemed doomed to fall back on their heels and let this comfortable lead nearly slip away in three short minutes at the start of the third. This is the kind of lax, sloppy play that will not sit well with coach Peter Laviolette. After a timeout with 9:43 remaining, they settled down and took care of business to maintain the lead.
With this win, the Flyers jumped over the Canadiens into 6th place in the Eastern Conference with 65 points. They meet again tomorrow night in Montreal, where the Flyers need to carry this momentum and hold onto their spot going into the Olympic break.