In the Habs Room: Montreal plays a near-perfect road game vs. Flyers
|Montreal Gazette 19 Mar 2019 at 20:25|
PHILADELPHIA ‚ÄĒ The Canadiens got back on the winning track as they played a near-perfect road game to beat the Philadelphia Flyers 3-1 Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
‚ÄúThey‚Äôre a good offensive team and they‚Äôre good with the puck behind the net (and in) front and I thought we did a really good job in those areas,‚ÄĚ coach Claude Julien said. ‚ÄúOn their rushes, I thought we did a great job of backchecking at the blue line so that when they curled up and looked for a trailer, we had that covered. Defensively we were solid and when we had those opportunities, we made the most of it.‚ÄĚ
Brendan Gallagher and Shea Weber cashed in on the offensive opportunities.
Gallagher‚Äôs 31st goal came offer a rebound in the first period, while Max Domi set up Weber for a shot from the blue line in the second period after Andrew Shaw won a draw against Sean Couturier, who is one of the NHL‚Äôs best in the faceoff circle.
Phillip Danault didn‚Äôt get an assist on Gallagher‚Äôs opening goal, but as has been the case in so many games this season, he made the play possible.
‚ÄúPhil did a good holding the puck as we were coming off the bench,‚ÄĚ Gallagher said. ‚ÄúThen, Tuna (Tomas Tatar) created chaos in front and I was able to get a shot through.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúThe guys played a good game from start to finish and obviously it always starts with (Carey Price),‚ÄĚ Gallagher added. ‚ÄúHe made some unbelievable saves and he was very calm out there. It was a good win, but we have to get ready for the next game.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúYou do look afterwards, but you have to look after your own self first,‚ÄĚ Julien said. ‚ÄúIf you look after your own self, it doesn‚Äôt matter what happens.‚ÄĚ
While the Canadiens did what they had to do, they didn‚Äôt get all the help they needed.
As the Canadiens headed to the dressing room after the win, the Carolina Hurricanes were trailing Pittsburgh 2-1. But Carolina pulled its goalie and Justin Williams scored to tie the game with 1:56 to play. The Hurricanes went on to win in a shootout and they maintained held on to the first wild-card spot with a four-point lead over Montreal and a game in hand.
But the Canadiens did get some help later in the evening when the Calgary Flames defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2. That left Montreal one point behind Columbus in the battle for the second wild-card spot.
Domi had an empty-net goal and set up Weber for his 12th of the season, while linemate Shaw collected a pair of assists.
The third member of the line is Artturi Lehkonen, who has one goal and no assists in his last 21 games. Lehkonen, who did hit a crossbar, had four minutes more ice time than either of his linemates and Julien said there was a reason for the extra workload.
‚ÄúThis is a guy we‚Äôd like to see more production from,‚ÄĚ Julien admitted. ‚ÄúFor some reason, when you look at his shooting percentage, it‚Äôs really low. But if you look at how many times he‚Äôs hit a post or a crossbar, maybe with a little bit of confidence (his shooting percentage) goes up. But he‚Äôs stabilized that line where we‚Äôre able to play them against bigger lines and so you‚Äôre going to get better defensive play and, overall, you have better balance.‚ÄĚ
About last night ... Canadiens win one they needed