The Philadelphia Flyers and Montreal Canadiens clashed Monday night in a rematch of last weeks heated bout between the two Eastern Conference leaders.
This was a highly anticipated contest, especially after some late game scuffles caused Flyers captain Mike Richards to call out Montreal rookie P.K. Subban, accusing him of being disrespectful and cocky during the Canadiens 3-0 victory. The game had the build-up of a playoff meeting, with fans expecting fireworks in the form of fisticuffs once the puck dropped.
To the remorse of those in attendance, both teams came out flat and were seemingly feeling out their opponents for the first five minutes of the game. Then, nearly 12 minutes into the opening frame, Canadiens agitator Maxime Lapierre scored a soft goal on Flyers net minder Brian Boucher with a wrist-shot from the blue line. Lapierre would strike again four minutes later on a shot that was deflected past Boucher by Flyers point-man Andrei Meszaros.
Montreal gained energy from their quick lead and carried the play for most of the first period, out-shooting the Flyers, 15-9, and silencing the normally rowdy Philly fans.
The Flyers turned the tables on the Canadiens in the second however, dominating puck possession and gathering several quality scoring chances. Montreal goaltender Carey Price was exceptional, making several big saves and looked to be unbeatable once again. Ville Leino eventually solved Price however, burying a quick shot top-shelf after a great pass from Danny Briere coming off of the rush.
The Flyers fans were now living up to their reputation, and the Wells Fargo Center was roaring as a result of the Flyers dominating 21-shot second period.
The Flyers momentum carried into the third, and it was obvious straight away. Claude Giroux sniped his 12th goal of the year with a Jonny-on-the-Spot rebound goal less than two minutes into the period. Six minutes later (while on a 4-on-4) Braydon Coburn slid a pass to a wide open James van Riemsdyk, who fired home his first goal of the season from low in the slot. Once they had rallied together the lead, the Flyers had the game in lock-down mode and ran out the clock on the disheartened and stunned Canadiens.
The Flyers won the battle, escaping with a valuable two points, without the use of brute force and bullying. The only player who may feel roughed up is Price, who faced 45 shots from the resilient Flyers. Surely the fans in attendance were a little disappointed at the lack of rough stuff anticipated for more than a week, but they can always look forward to the next meeting of this budding rivalry, which will be played on December 15th in Montreal.