Flyers Maintain Focus, Pound Habs

The last time the Philadelphia Flyers played at home before a break, they were humiliated by the Florida Panthers, 5-0 on December 20th.

Before the six-day layoff for the NHL All Star Game, the Flyers made sure that history didn’t repeat itself. However, the opponent was one that they weren’t able to overlook, the Montreal Canadiens.

There was certainly some electricity in Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday, and little question as to why the two teams combine for such great games. Montreal and Philadelphia have met in the playoffs in two of the last three seasons, with the Flyers triumphing both times. On top of that significant history, there has been plenty to make the rivals dislike each other this season, including Flyers’ Captain Mike Richards’ comments about P.K. Subban.

To say there was some heated intensity on the ice would be an understatement.

It only took six seconds for the first stoppage of play, and as the players skated to the faceoff circle, Richards and Subban exchanged pleasantries once again. The attitudes of the two players rubbed off on their teammates immediately.

After 16 minutes of hard-fought scoreless hockey in the first period, it looked like the game would be a low-scoring battle, but that wasn’t to be the case. The Canadiens took three penalties in a span of 1:34 to give the Flyers’ power play unit the space that they have desperately needed as of late. The Flyers capitalized with two goals on the opportunities and headed into the locker room with a 2-0 lead.

Just 23 seconds into the second period, Flyers pest Daniel Carcillo scored his third goal of the season to put the Orange and Black in complete control. The two teams each scored twice more, as the Flyers headed off the ice — with a 5-2 victory — and into their vacation with 71 points in 50 games.

Tuesday’s win was a step in the right direction for a team that has had a tendency to overlook a game every once in a while. Especially considering the way their Christmas getaway game unfolded.

Claude Giroux thought maybe the opposition helped prevent the team from falling into that trap again.

“Anytime we play against the Habs it’s pretty intense, the two teams don’t like each other very much,” he said with a grin afterwards. “Whether we play at home or in Montreal, we play good games. The fans get into and it’s pretty fun, I think the fans got a pretty good show tonight.”

Despite the Flyers’ impressive season thus far, Tuesday proved that they can sustain intensity even when they have a reason to take a night off. Many wondered if the team had looked beyond New Jersey in Saturday’s loss with a Stanley Cup rematch awaiting them a day later. That question has added some extra legitimacy when they handled the Blackhawks, 4-1.

With the lights shining bright, the Flyers erased doubt that the same would happen on Tuesday.

And, they did it rather impressively. Especially when the All-Star break is right around the corner.

“Montreal is one of those teams that bring out the best in you,” head coach Peter Laviolette stated after the big victory.

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