Canadiens Respond, Defeat Flyers to Force Game 6
For the last two games, the Flyers were able to rely on Carter Hart and cling to low-scoring games. Game 5 featured much more wide open hockey.
The Flyers had to overcome a lot of obstacles, giving up the first goal of the game, surviving an overturned call and rallying to get the game tied in the third period.
The tie lasted just 22 seconds, as the Canadiens gave the Flyers a taste of their own medicine, a la Game 1, and scored to take the lead right back, carrying it the rest of the way for the 5-3 win in Game 5 to force Game 6 on Friday.
The Canadiens came out with an early aggressive push and perhaps got too aggressive, as Ben Chiarot took a goalie interference penalty after bumping into Hart.
Instead of the Flyers taking advantage of the early power-play time, their struggles continued and Montreal capitalized on a bounce. A dump-in by Xavier Ouellet hit off the end-boards and came right back into the slot. Joel Armia split the defense of Matt Niskanen and Travis Sanheim, getting to the loose puck first and beating Hart with the shot to give Montreal the 1-0 lead.
The Flyers started to get more shots and looked better defensively as the period went on, but Carey Price was dialed in early, making 12 saves in the opening period.
The Flyers spent most of the latter part of the period killing off penalties. Jake Voracek took a double-minor for high-sticking with the Flyers on their second power play of the game and Joel Farabee went to the box in the final minute of the period. On Montreal's first power play, Kevin Hayes got a shorthanded breakaway of his own, but Price stopped him with the glove.
Shots through 20 minutes were 12-10 Flyers.
Early in the second, the Flyers got their chance to change the momentum. Jesperi Kotkaniemi drilled Sanheim into the boards and was called for a major penalty and game misconduct, giving the Flyers a five-minute power play.
Finally, they cashed in. First, Jake Voracek beat Price with a one-timer from the right circle to tie the game at one just 2:35 into the period and 50 seconds into the major. With time running out on the major, Voracek struck again, trying to get a pass to Sean Couturier at the net and having it deflect in off the skate of Chiarot to give the Flyers a 2-1 lead at 6:37 with just eight seconds left on the major.
Montreal came right back to steal a lot of that momentum. Armia got his second goal of the game at 10:12, taking a shot from an angle that got past Hart to tie the game at two. Moments later, Phil Myers got too aggressive trying to clear the crease after a whistle, taking a four-minute high-sticking penalty. On the power play, the Canadiens regained the lead with Brendan Gallagher knocking a shot out of the air to beat Hart and make it 3-2.
Just over three minutes later, Montreal appeared to add to the lead with Nick Suzuki taking a shot that tipped off the stick of Ivan Provorov and leaked through Hart. Alain Vigneault challenged the goal for offside and the call was overturned, keeping the one-goal margin.
There was much more ice available in the final minutes of the second, and both teams generated quality chances, but Montreal took the one-goal lead to the third. Through two periods, shots were 21-19 Montreal.
For most of the third period, the Flyers tried to penetrate the wall of bodies at the blue line and in front of Price. They had one power play with 13:27 left in the third and couldn't do anything with it. They got another one with 9:37 and took advantage.
Voracek was in the middle of it again, setting up Farabee for the tip-in to beat Price and even the score at three.
Just 22 seconds later, the Flyers had a complete defensive breakdown and allowed Montreal to take the lead right back. Suzuki finally got his goal, getting alone in front and using a move to get Hart down and out to score to make it 4-3.
The Flyers could not get back into the game and Montreal finished things off with an empty-net goal by Philip Danault that was followed by a massive scrum at center ice.
Hart made 28 saves on 32 shots in the loss. Price made 26 saves on 29 shots in the win.
Voracek had a three-point game for the Flyers. Claude Giroux and Couturier each had two points. Suzuki, Armia, Brett Kulak and Jonathan Drouin each had two points.
So that sets the stage for Game 6 on Friday, as the Flyers will once again look to close out the series against the Canadiens. Game time is 7 p.m.
- MTL Joel Armia (2) SH (Xavier Ouellet, Brett Kulak) 2:53
- PHI Jake Voracek (3) PP (Claude Giroux, Ivan Provorov) 2:35
- PHI Voracek (4) PP (Giroux, Sean Couturier) 6:37
- MTL Armia (3) (Kulak) 10:12
- MTL Brendan Gallagher (1) PP (Nick Suzuki, Jonathan Drouin) 11:30
- PHI Joel Farabee (3) PP (Voracek, Couturier) 10:37
- MTL Suzuki (2) (Drouin) 10:59
- MTL Philip Danault (1) EN (Artturi Lehkonen) 19:42
Kevin Durso is Flyers insider for 97.3 ESPN and Flyers editor for SportsTalkPhilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.