Friday, November 25, 2011

Flyers make Canadiens look like turkeys, claim 3-1 victory

by Bob Herpen
Phanatic Hockey Editor

On a day which began like both hockey teams were still trapped in a tryptophan coma, the Philadelphia Flyers eventually snapped out of a holiday funk and blitzed the Montreal Canadiens with a three-goal second period for a 3-1 decision.

It didn't come easy without Jaromir Jagr and Chris Pronger, but Peter Laviolette's club was able to grit through another positive performance against a foe which doesn't exactly mirror its up-tempo style.

They will have to grit through the next portion of the schedule, which includes a Saturday matinee in Manhattan against the Rangers without Andreas Lilja, who was revealed to have a high ankle sprain and is expected to miss the next 6 weeks.

Claude Giroux led the way with a pair of scores, and Jakub Voracek netted the game-winner to back 23 saves from Sergei Bobrovsky as the Flyers won their second in a row and fifth in seven.

Petteri Nokelainen notched the lone score for the Habs, who have alternated losses and wins in their last seven outings.

Carey Price played well -- making 33 saves -- but a late-second-period collapse turned a victory into defeat.

Montreal played its usual style of getting in the way, clogging the zones and breaking up passing lanes to perfection for the first 33 minutes of regulation, but it all came crashing down in a span of 6:49 to complete the period.

Giroux had just exited the penalty box for a hooking infraction, and he was in the right place at the right time to corral an errant Matt Carle shot on the right side near the goal line, and slip a shot off Price and in to tie the score at 1-1.

As the clock slipped inside of three minutes remaining, Giroux made Habs checkers look foolish as he zigged and zagged his way through the offensive zone. He ultimately gave the puck up to Braydon Coburn at the point, and though his shot missed everything, Kimmo Timonen got to the loose disc first.

He managed to slide a pass through bodies in the crease area where Voracek was able to one-time it home at 17:45.

That one-goal lead appeared to be safe, but just for good measure, Philly decided to triple its edge.

Voracek was able to emerge from a battle to Price's right and behind the Montreal net, secured the puck and fed back to Timonen, whose blistering drive was turned aside. The rebound skidded beyond his grasp and right into the left circle, where Giroux ripped it home with 5.9 seconds remaining.

In a scoreless third stanza, the Flyers failed to click on a key two-man advantage for a span of 1:41 just after the midway point. It almost came back to haunt them as Erik Cole broke in for two chances in close several minutes later.

But Bobrovsky stopped them both, being square to the shooter and giving no quarter on the rebound to keep it a 3-1 contest. He halted all 11 Canadiens chances in the third to lock up the victory.

The Canadiens were one goal better than the hosts in a somnolent opening period, claiming an 8-4 shot advantage.

Nokelainen, a journeyman who fell into the Habs' lap in the offseason, was more alert to a loose puck than Andrej Meszaros, and his turnaround chance from between the circles was expertly placed between Bobrovsky's outstretched pad and the right post with 1:46 to play.

Notes: The Flyers have won three straight home games against the Canadiens and four of the last five...It was the club's first post-Thanksgiving home victory since beating the Blue Jackets in 2006 for what was former head coach Ken Hitchcock's Columbus debut...For Giroux, Friday marked his second multi-goal effort of the season and seventh multi-point performance this year...Canadiens captain Brian Gionta was held without a point and was a minus-2...The Flyers rolled up a 31-16 difference in shots over the final two periods.
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