In the Habs Room: Montreal plays a near-perfect road game vs. Flyers
|Montreal Gazette 19 Mar 2019 at 20:25|
PHILADELPHIA â€” 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.
â€śTheyâ€™re a good offensive team and theyâ€™re good with the puck behind the net (and in) front and I thought we did a really good job in those areas,â€ť coach Claude Julien said. â€śOn 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.â€ť
Brendan Gallagher and Shea Weber cashed in on the offensive opportunities.
Gallagherâ€™s 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 NHLâ€™s best in the faceoff circle.
Phillip Danault didnâ€™t get an assist on Gallagherâ€™s opening goal, but as has been the case in so many games this season, he made the play possible.
â€śPhil did a good holding the puck as we were coming off the bench,â€ť Gallagher said. â€śThen, Tuna (Tomas Tatar) created chaos in front and I was able to get a shot through.â€ť
â€śThe guys played a good game from start to finish and obviously it always starts with (Carey Price),â€ť Gallagher added. â€śHe 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.â€ť
â€śYou do look afterwards, but you have to look after your own self first,â€ť Julien said. â€śIf you look after your own self, it doesnâ€™t matter what happens.â€ť
While the Canadiens did what they had to do, they didnâ€™t 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.
â€śThis is a guy weâ€™d like to see more production from,â€ť Julien admitted. â€śFor some reason, when you look at his shooting percentage, itâ€™s really low. But if you look at how many times heâ€™s hit a post or a crossbar, maybe with a little bit of confidence (his shooting percentage) goes up. But heâ€™s stabilized that line where weâ€™re able to play them against bigger lines and so youâ€™re going to get better defensive play and, overall, you have better balance.â€ť
About last night ... Canadiens win one they needed