Plekanec’s Injury Proves Costly; Flyers 5 Habs 3

Photo by AP

Photo by AP

The Montreal Canadiens came into Philadelphia looking for their 4th straight win and put some distance between themselves and the Boston Bruins in the North East Division, but the Flyers just wouldn’t have it. Credit to the Flyers who deserved the 2 points way more than the Habs did tonight. Montreal just couldn’t catch a break with 3 of the 5 Philly goals getting tipped in by skates; 2 of which by Habs’ defensemen (Subban and Bouillon). Tomas Plekanec left the game early in the second period after what has now been classified as a groin injury; he did not return.

The depth of the Habs was tested tonight after their best centre went down, and  with the way this game ended, Tomas was greatly missed. Lars Eller and Jeff Halpern were given heavier, harder minutes in the absence of Plekanec, and both of which seemed up to the challenge. Eller’s statistics were a cause for concern tonight but his minus-4 rating did not tell the whole story. Eller played mediocre but had some jump offensively and even dropped the gloves with Flyers captain Claude Giroux; both were only given roughing minors. Lars was out of position in his own end a fair amount tonight though, and won a mere 14% of his draws. Jeff Halpern played 16:58 compared to Eller’s 16:16, but both were out done by Desharnais’ 19:24 which was the most by a Habs’ forward. Davey had a goal and an assist and was a plus- 1 and was strong at both ends of the ice. Halpern though, really caught my eye tonight playing high minutes and really having speed and grit to his game. Jeff was his usual self in the faceoff circle and dished a beautiful pass over to Brandon Prust for his 5th goal of the season. I really liked Halpern’s game tonight, and his teammates noticed his hard work as well.

New comer Davis Drewiske had a very solid 1st game as a Montreal Canadien. The new Habs’ blue liner played 15:31 in his debut, was a minus- 1, dished out a hit and blocked 2 shots. I’d say he came just as advertised.

Brendan Gallagher and Max Pacioretty both had great games tonight, and along with Desharnais, this was the Habs’ best line all night (this line was the only line that stayed together for the entire game).

Carey Price played a great game tonight. As I mentioned, 3 of Philly’s 5 goals were deflected by skates, and one was a ricochet off the end boards right onto Simon Gagne’s stick. Carey gave the Canadiens a chance to win, but it’s pretty tough to win when his teammates only have 6 shots on arguably the worst number one goalie in the NHL (Bryzgalov) in 2 periods. The Plekanec injury had something to do with the shots, but there are 11 other forwards to shoot the puck so the blame simply cannot fall on the absence of Tomas. The Habs played 2/3 of the game in their own zone killing off penalties and giving numerous opportunities to the Flyers. Therrien’s Canadiens need to be better.

Photo by AP

Photo by AP

The Markov – Emelin tandem has been a diasaster as of late. Carey Price has nightmares every single night when 74 and 79 are hemmed into their own zone. The defensive pairings, now with the acquisition of Drewiske, need to be shaken up.

PK Subban was his normal self logging just under 26 minutes of ice time while registering 5 hits, 3 shot blocks and he also hit the post tonight on a one-timer. PK was held pointless, but was a very effective player as usual getting under the skin of Brayden Schenn after launching a huge body check on the Flyer’s forward.

The Habs as a team played a great first 20 minutes and then just didn’t show up for the final 40. Possibly a sign of fatigue, but I would suggest that the Flyers were just the hungrier and more determined team. The Flyers seemed to gain momentum after the 2 early 2nd period fights between Travis Moen & Wayne Simmonds and Brandon Prust & Zac Rinaldo; both fights were quick and were wrestling matches for the most part as no punches connected. The then quiet Philly crowd quickly got into the game and helped the Flyers keep the momentum throughout the game.

All in all, the Canadiens were just out-played tonight. The Flyers were desperate for a win and they earned it. The Habs on the other hand need to get back to form quickly as they play tomorrow night at home against the desperate Winnipeg Jets. Here’s to hoping for a big win!

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