After the round-robin series and the play-in rounds, the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs are underway! The Philadelphia Flyers remain undefeated through the Eastern Conference round-robin to improve from the fourth seed to the first seed. Their opponents, the Montreal Canadiens, handled the Pittsburgh Penguins in the play-in round. The Flyers seek to keep their undefeated postseason streak against the Canadiens. In the 2019-2020 season, Philadelphia is 2-1-0 against Montreal.
Previously, the Philadelphia Flyers and the Montreal Canadiens squared off against each other back in the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs. A decade later, the Flyers start the game by taking control of the faceoff circle. With about eleven minutes remaining in the first period, Jakub Voracek scores a powerplay goal. At first glance, it looks like it is Ivan Provorov’s, but the puck glances off the back of Voracek’s leg. On that powerplay unit, Philadelphia chose a four forward and one defenseman format.
Carter Hart’s performance cannot receive enough praise. He has not allowed more than one goal in any playoff game to date. Scott Laughton had a prime opportunity to extend the Philadelphia Flyers lead, but Carey Price barely deflected the shot up and away. With just under five and a half minutes remaining in the second period, Shea Weber scored a powerplay goal to knot the game at one goal apiece. Sixteen seconds later, Joel Farabee answered with the game-winning goal, giving the Flyers a 2-1 lead.
Tensions were high throughout this first game of the series. Carey Price snuck a punch to Derek Grant, and no one batted an eye. Philippe Myers took down Brendan Gallagher after Carter Hart froze the puck in the third period. With just under a half-minute left in regulation, Nick Suzuki rang a shot off the post. After sixty minutes, the Philadelphia Flyers lead this Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series, 1-0.
Playoff Hart saves Flyers
Every game Carter Hart has started in the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs included a quality performance. He has been on the winning side against the NHL best Boston Bruins, the tough Tampa Bay Lightning, and his idol’s Montreal Canadiens thus far. In those three victories, all in regulation, Hart has a 1.0 goal against average coupled with a 96.6% save percentage. Carey Price has the same amount of wins as Hart does through five 2020 postseason games. In those three wins, Price has a 1.66 goals-against average and a 94.7% save percentage.
First Line Awakens
Throughout the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs, the Philadelphia Flyers bottom-six forwards have mostly carried the scoring. Up to this point, the only goal scorers of the top six forwards were Joel Farabee and Scott Laughton. Jakub Voracek added himself to that shortlist last night on the powerplay goal deflection. During Voracek’s absence from the lineup, Farabee was extremely valuable. Alain Vigneault realized that and Farabee has as many goals as he does games on the first line this postseason.
Speaking of the powerplay, the Philadelphia Flyers were zero for eleven in the 2020 postseason before Jakub Voracek’s goal. Alternatively, the Flyers were 100% on the penalty kill before Shea Weber scored the Montreal Canadiens’ only goal of the game. That is not the consistency required for Philadelphia in the postseason. Adding Shayne Gostisbehere to tonight’s lineup did not have an impact on the Flyers powerplay either. If Philadelphia keeps the same powerplay format, expect the return of Robert Hagg in game two.
Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports