Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Flyers wilt under Habs attack, fall in OT

Montreal, QC -- David Desharnais followed up his own rebound and beat Ray Emery with 1:33 remaining in overtime and the  Montreal Canadiens extracted a 2-1 victory over Philadelphia at Bell Centre on Tuesday night as the Orange and Black continued its four-game road swing.

Desharnais initially put a relatively harmless shot on net from the right side, but the rebound kicked right back to him, and, despite having Flyers defenseman Michael Del Zotto planted between he and the goal, the 28-year-old center popped home the winner inside the left post.

"We know they were in a good portion of their schedule, so it's not very easy to play a team which has won five of six," Desharnais admitted. "On the first goal and on that last play, if the puck is out in front, anything can happen, and for us it did tonight."

Tomas Plekanec notched the tying goal in the latter stages of regulation for the Canadiens, who received 23 saves from Carey Price.

Price's win was his 209th for the Habs, moving alone into fourth place on the franchise list behind only Ken Dryden (258), Patrick Roy (289) and Jacques Plante (314).

Matt Read picked up an early goal for the Flyers, who managed to earn a point for Ray Emery, who came up with a season-best 39 stops. Philadelphia, which is 5-0-2 over its last seven games, still remains outside the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

Emery will need to come up with major-league efforts for the next 2-to-3 weeks, since the club announced hours before the game that starter Steve Mason needs that much time to recover from a "lower-body injury" which suspiciously looks like a back issue which flared up in Washington on Sunday.

The fractious Ontarian ended up recording his most saves in one game since a 40-stop effort in a loss to the Islanders last January 20, and the onus will be on first-time call-up Anthony Stolarz once he gets his first chance to start.

"They jumped on all the loose pucks. We were never close on a lot of those battles," said Flyers defenseman Mark Streit. "We let them come to us too much in the second half of the game. Emery was outstanding and he showed a lot of battle in this game. Our forwards didn't attack enough. We got a point, and maybe it could be a crucial one."

Read snapped an epic goal drought by beating Price over the shoulder from the left wing only 51 seconds after the initial puck drop. Wayne Simmonds assisted on the marker which came from a defensive left-circle faceoff loss and quick puck movement by the latter forward.

Price recovered by stoning Claude Giroux on a breakaway just over five minutes in, and on an ensuing Philly power play, Max Pacioretty fired wide on a short- handed break.

Price then dove head-first to stop a Jakub Voracek chance off a 2-on-1 opportunity with Giroux in the opening minute of the second and Emery came up with several slick saves, including two on Pacioretty, among his 17 total saves to keep it a one-goal margin after 40 minutes.

Plekanec finally brought the home crowd to its feet when he waited outside a scramble in the crease and backhanded a shot past Emery with 7:22 to go.

Montreal failed to click on a power play granted with 2:32 left in regulation when Del Zotto committed a hooking penalty.

Notes: Montreal swept Philadelphia in the season series for the first time since going 4-0-0 during the 2007-08 season ... The Canadiens unleashed a total of 90 shots -- 41 which reached Emery, 25 which were blocked and another 24 that missed the net ... Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn was a late scratch, and the team later said he was day-to-day with an upper-body injury ... Read's goal snapped a 25-game drought, dating back to Dec. 11 against the Devils.

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