Canadiens 3, Flyers 1: Falling Flat in Must-win Situation During NHL Playoff Race


This is a game the Flyers probably can't and won't recover from.

Facing a team they had to catch in the standings, the Flyers fell to the Montreal Canadiens, 3-1, Tuesday night.

Goaltender Carey Price stopped 32 shots to beat the Flyers on Fan Appreciation Night. 

Here are my observations from the Wells Fargo Center:

• Typical first period at the Wells Fargo Center for the Flyers as the Canadiens dictated the pace of play. The one noticeable problem area for the Flyers was their inability to contain Montreal's speed from the outside. Jesperi Kotkaniemi, the third overall pick in this year's draft, blew completely around Shayne Gostisbehere before getting a shot up close on Carter Hart.

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• Just because you get a body on Brendan Gallagher, don't think you have him contained. That was Oskar Lindblom's issue as the Flyers' winger sent Gallagher to the ice, in what could have been an interference penalty, just inside the Flyers' blue line. However, Gallagher never stops on any play. He left Lindblom behind and put home a rebound goal on Hart. There has to be a conscious effort to play physically against Gallagher, especially after he notched his first career hat trick against the Flyers last month.

• Despite Sean Couturier losing the faceoff, it appeared as if the Flyers had the Shea Weber shot defended pretty well. Watch Jakub Voracek race to the middle of the ice to guard against a possible shot from the point. Voracek appeared to be in position to block the shot, but perhaps had other ideas considering Weber can unload a 100-mph slapper. Preferably, I don't like that shot getting on net.

• Couturier continued his blistering second half by snapping the Flyers' 0-for-17 skid on the power play and pulling the Flyers within a goal. It was Couturier's 30th goal of the season as he reached the 30-goal mark for the second straight season. He's the first Flyer with back-to-back 30-goal seasons since Wayne Simmonds (2015-17). In my opinion, Couturier wins the Bobby Clarke Trophy as team MVP.

• Montreal came out the more determined team with more jump and more desperation in its game. Although the players won't say it, I think they've been dealing with this "bug" that's been going around the locker room - which would explain why Justin Bailey has been back and forth from Lehigh Valley. 

• Montreal also stifled the Flyers' offense by not giving it very much time and space with the puck. Referees elected to swallow the whistle and allow both teams to play. They easily could have called some interference penalties in that second period.

• Unlike Claude Giroux on Sunday, defenseman Philippe Myers felt too sick to suit up in this game and was replaced by Andrew MacDonald, who has been in and out of the lineup over the past three weeks. There's a belief that MacDonald could be a buyout recipient next season as he enters the final year of his contract, but unless the Flyers are desperate for the cap space, I don't necessarily see a buyout as the best option. You need depth and MacDonald isn't a bad option as a seventh defenseman.

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