The Philadelphia Flyers are advancing to the second round for the first time since 2012.
In a hard-fought Game 6, the Flyers were able to closeout a feisty Montreal Canadiens team that really gave their all to try and extend the series. Both teams entered the matchup with some bad blood carrying over from Game 5, which included Alain Vigneault embracing the role of villain for the Montreal faithful.
It honestly had me so hyped for the game, Vigneault has got to be the first coach fans are behind 100% since Peter Laviolette.
Throughout the series, the team who scores first has won every game. This trend did not change last night, as 30 seconds into the first period the Flyers struck first.
Kevin Hayes won the faceoff, and Ivan Provorov let a wrist shot go through traffic and it found its way through Carey Price. Price would let up three goals on his first seven shots faced in this game, although one or two can definitely be equated to unlucky bounces.
The Flyers would extend their lead to 2-0 minutes later, as Hayes scored his first of the series after having multiple great chances in Game 5.
Shayne Gostisbehere, who was inserted into the lineup for the suspended Matt Niskanen, took a big hit on the boards to lead up to the goal. Ghost had a pretty strong game overall and seemed to help the second PP unit some as well.
Around 10 minutes into the first period, Montreal cut the lead to one goal as Nick Suzuki scored on a Canadiens PP. The period would end 2-1, but with the Flyers having gone 0/3 on the PP and missing a chance to really give themselves some breathing room.
The second period was pretty much all Montreal, as the Canadiens really put the pressure on and kept the Flyers out of their zone. Ghost did have one of the hits of the game on Suzuki though:
The Flyers recorded their first shot of the period just under five minutes in, and in that moment, it was a huge goal against the run of play. Travis Sanheim started an odd-man rush and eventually received a drop pass back from Jake Voracek. He put a shot on net which went off of Michael Raffl and then off of Price to make the score 3-1.
Two minutes later, Suzuki again would cut the lead to one goal. Sanheim lost a board battle with Canadiens forward Jonathan Drouin, who then sent a pass across the crease to a wide-open Suzuki. Sanheim definitely looked shaky at times defensively in this one, but overall he still has been solid paired with Phil Myers.
In the third period, the Flyers suffocated Montreal for a good amount of time. The Canadiens were having a hard time setting up in the offensive zone and the Flyers were just locking down the neutral zone. Moving closer to the end of the period, you did see Montreal getting zone time and the Flyers scrambling to block shots and passing lanes.
In the last seconds of the game, former Canadien Nate Thompson did well to keep possession of the puck in the corner to waste time. There was chaos near the net to end the game, but there would be no overtime hockey in this one.
Hart did a solid job of locking down the net after the second goal, saving the last 19 shots he faced. The Flyers blocked 21 shots to Montreal’s nine, and had 17 shots for the game compared to Montreal’s 33.
Also, Hart is in good company with his idol Carey Price:
Hayes finished the game with two points, a goal and an assist.
Voracek lead the team with 7 points (4 goals, 3 assists) in six games.
The Flyers start their ECSF matchup against the New York Islanders on Monday, game time is 7 p.m.. The Islanders have proven to be a very well coached team with good depth, coached by Stanley Cup champion Barry Trotz. Trotz and the Islanders just finished eliminating his old team, the Washington Capitals, in five games.
The Flyers know that they maybe were not at their best in the Canadiens series, and know they must be better come Monday night and beyond.