Price earns Canadiens a point with outstanding performance vs. Flyers

Philadelphia Flyers' Sean Couturier scores in overtime as his shot just trickles past Carey Price and the Montreal Canadiens.

The Philadelphia Flyers came into Thursday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens with a 5-1-1 record at home and finished the night with a 3-2 overtime win off the stick of Sean Couturier.

They dominated the Canadiens, thoroughly, out-shooting them 25-1 at one point in the game. It was barely halfway through when they notched their 30th shot of the night—an opportunity on the power play.

Their others were gifted by a Montreal team playing loose in its own end and in transition.

This was no recipe for a Canadiens win. They took six penalties to Philadelphia’s zero and lost almost every battle for the puck through the first 40 minutes of play.

That Montreal ended up with a point in the game, with Shea Weber and Ben Chiarot scoring their goals, was a total miracle.

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THE BIG TAKEAWAY

That miracle was goaltender Carey Price, who stood on his head to give the Canadiens a fighting chance.

Price came into the game with a 7-4-1 record, a 2.75 goals against average, a .910 save percentage and having given up three bad goals in Tuesday’s 5-4 win over the Boston Bruins. From the start of this one, he appeared determined to make up for it.

A glove-save on Flyers leading scorer Travis Konecny, in the eighth minute of play, was Price’s first 10-beller of the night. Another one on Jakub Voracek just two minutes later was otherworldly.

The stop the 32-year-old made on Joel Farabee while the Flyers were on a second-period power play would have been his best of the night if not for a third-period save on Carsen Twarynski, who was awarded a penalty shot with just under seven minutes to play.

Twarysnki skated in slowly, hesitated, and then wound up a swinging snapshot that Price punched away with his blocker.

He made 40 saves in the game, but just couldn’t squeeze the puck to his body on Couturier’s overtime winner. The shot came from 45-feet away and it was one Price would like to have back.

You could see how frustrated he was with that and the outcome. He got to Montreal’s bench, left the ice, and snapped his goalie stick over his knee on the way to the visitors’ room.

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QUICK HITS

• Tomas Tatar took Penalties nine and 10 on his season. Only five other players in the NHL have taken more.

Canadiens coach Claude Julien was so frustrated with him that he put Nick Cousins in his spot next to Phillip Danault and Brendan Gallagher late in the second period, and benched him for the majority of the rest of the game.

• For the first time since Nov. 6, 2018, the Canadiens killed off six penalties in a game. It was just about the only thing they did well in this one, which is a strange twist of fate considering they came into the game with the second-worst penalty kill in the NHL and were forced to play against the sixth-best power play in the league.

• It should have been five penalties. At 2-2 in the third, the Canadiens were called for delay of game after not getting a line change done quickly enough following an icing call.

The thing is, they were debating the icing call—and rightfully so, considering the puck touched a player at centre ice before sliding down to the Flyers’ goal line—and it was an extremely peculiar call given the game situation and the fact that the Canadiens had already been called for the only five penalties in the game.

And if you think Julien was frustrated with Tatar, he was downright livid with the officials after that.

Here’s what the coach said to reporters about the whole situation:

“Well first of all, the first reaction was that it was touched at centre ice. I think everyone sees that on the replay. But then they say, ‘Okay, so it’s icing.’

“Now you get into ‘What’s the rule?’ You gotta put the same guys on the ice.

“I’m trying to put the same guys back on the ice and they’re not letting me. And I’m telling him that, ‘You want the guys that are on the ice, I’m giving you the guys.’ And he gives me a delay of game penalty.

‘Honestly, I can take a lot of responsibility: Our three Ds on the ice, we had too many men. And most of the penalties tonight—they were penalties. Slashing, hooking, this and that. So we take responsibility for that.

“But there’s a point there that they’ve got to take certain responsibilities, and what’s disappointing me is after that, I don’t know if they felt embarrassed but they made sure that we weren’t going to get any breaks. The stick to (Jonathan) Drouin’s face that everybody saw, (the official) saw it. I know he saw it and decided not to call it. I’m not sold necessarily on the ruling of (Twarynski’s) penalty shot, I’m not sold on that either.

“So I was disappointed in the way it was handled after (the delay of game penalty), and if we embarrassed them, maybe they embarrassed themselves by not letting us do the job that we’re supposed to do by putting the right guys on the ice…

“Our penalty kill tonight, and our goaltender allowed us to get a point tonight. If it wasn’t for them we would have walked out of here with nothing. So give them credit. Hard to get the 5-on-5 going when you’re killing (penalties) all night, but you kind of cut them a little slack as a group. And you can’t criticize the power play, we know that.”

 

UP NEXT:

The Canadiens are returning to Montreal, where they’ll take Friday off before facing the Los Angeles Kings at the Bell Centre on Saturday.

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