Philadelphia (1) vs Montreal (8): It Was Just a Game, but What a Game!
Today’s game was the complete opposite start to the game for the Montreal Canadiens compared to game 1. As opposed to their sleepy start in game one, Montreal looked to have rockets on their skates at the start of game two. Montreal, a team based on speed, was flying around the ice.
They struck early with the fast start; Tomas Tatar who hadn't scored all playoffs, snuck one past Hart off a Brendan Gallagher rebound. Driving to the net and making the simple play, he was finally rewarded for his smart efforts. The goal came just over one minute into the game, which kept the Habs focused on the next 59 minutes. Not resting on this great start, just over 2 mins in, Montreal has another great chance which a sprawling Carter Hart kept out. With three great chances under 2 mins into the game, the score would have been 2-0 without the play of the young goalie.
The pressure continued as Montreal kept their foot on the gas pedal while Philly was still looking for their keys. Ten minutes into the game and Philly has failed to register a shot on net; they were out attempted 20-2 while the shot on net count read 6-0. Having made some adjustment after game one, the Habs coaching staff look to have hit all the right buttons. Montreal strikes again from the newly formed line of Drouin-Kotkaniemi-Domi; 2-0 and Philadelphia looks completely lost. The Flyers registered their first shot just over 15 mins into the game while getting outshot 16-6 in the period.
The second period brought more of the same; Montreal started with a powerplay that Domi had drawn at the end of the first. Tatar, again with another quick goal, replicated the start of the first, giving the Canadiens even more confidence. With the score 3-0, the loose undisciplined plays began to mount and Montreal took 2 of 4 penalties in quick succession giving the Flyers a 5-on-3 powerplay. Carey Price once again shined on a 5-on-3 kill in these playoffs and kept the flyers scoreless.
Price made the difference in this period; with his team up by 3-0 and the structure falling out of their game, the Flyers were rewarded with 4 powerplays which Price defended calmly. With a fluke goal from Armia (off a skate late in the period) chased Hart from the net and gave Montreal a 4-0 lead heading into the third.
Montreal came out in the third period looking to kill the 20 mins as fast as they could and the Flyers seemed completely accepting of that. Montreal once again controlled the play through the period; Kotkaniemi added his second goal of the game and team-leading 4th of the playoffs, to put Montreal up by five. The Flyers mounted a small push at the end of the game, but Price was more than happy to deny any play they tried to make.
Montreal came into this series as the lowest seed; an afterthought which analysts deemed had better chance at 12.5% to win the lottery than any kind of shot at Lord Stanley. The Canadiens shocked the hockey community and chose the latter, their reward was defeating the top seeded Flyers. Through two games of the series, Montreal has proven that they can not only play with them, but can beat them. They have just reinforced the confidence within themselves and their team with this stunning win.
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