Rabid Habs

Postgame: Habs Lose to Flyers 5-3

With less than two weeks until the trade deadline, the Canadiens in no man’s land. They’l continue to pull on the sweater knowing full well that the next few games could determine their future.

Admittedly, I expected a pretty lively crowd in Philadelphia on Thursday night. Considering that the Eagles captured their first ever Super Bowl victory on Sunday night and that the parade took place earlier on Thursday, it seemed like a great opportunity to get loud. But it also makes sense that some fans passed on the opportunity to see their Flyers take on the boring Canadiens.

The first period seemed to confirm that idea, as not a whole lot of anything happened. The Flyers led 10-9 in shots. Tomas Plekanec had a handful of shot attempts; something that is only really noticeable when the rest of the period was pretty stagnant.

The offense finally came in the second period, but I’m imagining Karl Alzner would have wanted it to happen a little differently. Just 42 seconds into the period, they Flyers took the lead on a comedy of Canadiens’ errors.

Jeff Petry’s outlet pass was intercepted by Sean Couturier just outside the blueline. He managed to find Claude Giroux and it was sent through the slot to Travis Konecny not long after. Konecny buried his 12th of the year into a near-empty net. On the play, Alzner was caught at the blueline well after the puck was moving back into the Canadiens’ zone and he didn’t make much of an effort to get back into the passing lane of Giroux. The narrative will say that Jonathan Drouin and Alex Galchenyuk were on the ice, but the truth is that Petry and Alzner blew it from the very beginning. 1-0 Flyers.

Montreal tied the game midway through the period thanks to the sudden resurgence of Artturi Lehkonen. Scoring two goals in his last outing on Sunday afternoon, Lehkonen kept the ball rolling with a shorthanded goal that he created and finished on his own.

As I’ve said too often this season, the lead did not last long. On the same powerplay, Giroux beat Carey Price for his 16th goal of the season. Wayne Simmonds is by no means an easy man to move, but it would have been nice to see Karl Alzner or Jordie Benn try. They didn’t, and the Flyers retook the lead.

Montreal did tie the game up before the end of the period, as they fourth line stuck with a broken play. Logan Shaw fired a puck through Brian Elliott for his second as a Canadien. 2-2 at the end of the second.

That was as close as the Habs got in this one. Just 27 seconds into the third, Jakub Voracek beat Price under the bar with a perfect wrist shot. Then Price gave up a banana just over a minute later to Konecny for his second of the game. In the blink of an eye, the game ended and there was still a full period to play. Brutal.

Brendan Gallagher did get a powerplay goal on a net-mouth play to get the Canadiens within a goal, but an empty net goal from Ivan Provorov sealed the deal for the Flyers. 5-3 Flyers.

I’m not sure if the focus should be the sixty minute game for the Canadiens. Let’s start small. Stop blowing games in under two minutes like you did at the start of the second. Is that even something you can work on in practice? Practicing comeback efforts seems like a silly thing; just stop losing. Maybe? I don’t know.

Lehkonen

It’s great to see pucks start going in for Lehkonen. He brings the same effort on both sides of the puck just about every game, so it’s nice to see him get rewarded for that. Looking forward to next season, it will be a new offense if they can get a full year out of Lehkonen.

Plekanec

Note to all young hockey players: if you’re trying to prove to the world that you’re a penalty killer, don’t buy real estate in the penalty box. Plekanec took three minors against the Flyers, two of which resulted in goals for Philadelphia. He looked sharp in the first, but really fell off by the middle of the second.

Alzner

Was on the ice for the first three Flyers goals and he was directly responsible for the first two. Then he screened Price on the third goal. On the same day that the Rangers placed Brendan Smith on waivers, Alzner has a stinker and makes me wonder if Montreal could do the same thing. Montreal needs to get rid of him yesterday.

That’s all for me. Montreal’s next game is Saturday night when Alexei Emelin and Yannick Weber make their emotional returns to the Bell Centre with the Nashville Predators. Should be a great night.

Go Habs Go.

Follow Ian on Twitter @BoisvertIan and follow @RabidHabs for more updates!

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