After the highest of highs comes a low of lows. The Philadelphia Flyers have been buzzing in all games of the 2020 Stanley Cup postseason. Today, in their first loss of the playoffs, the Flyers were handled. Mental lapses and poor execution spell out the result of game two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal for Philadelphia. In the absence of Claude Julien, the Montreal Canadiens deserved this victory.
Only a minute and two seconds passed before the Montreal Canadiens scored first. Tomas Tatar scored his first goal of the game, and the Philadelphia Flyers were stunned. It took over fourteen minutes for the Flyers to generate a single shot in the first period. The Canadiens scored two goals before Philadelphia’s first shot on goal. The second goal to give Montreal a 2-0 lead was from Jesperi Kotkaniemi.
At the end of the first period, the Philadelphia Flyers mustered six total shots. About as early as the Montreal Canadiens scored in the first period, they scored again in the second period. This time it was a powerplay goal by Tomas Tatar. The Flyers had scoring chances and narrowed the shot total in the second period, but were as unlucky as they were uninspired in the first period. Joel Armia scored as the puck deflected off of Shayne Gostisbehere’s skate, which led to Carter Hart pulled for Brian Elliott.
Travis Konecny was the mood of every Philadelphia Flyers fan back in the second period as he attempted to break his stick over the boards. Travis Sanheim had an opportunity to put the Flyers on the scoreboard, but the Montreal Canadiens defensemen made saves when Carey Price was out of position. Jesperi Kotkaniemi scored another goal just past the halfway point of the third period. In the next sequence, Konecny was hit by a shot and left the game. Murphy’s Law was in full effect today for Philadelphia as they lost 5-0.
Being scored on in less than a minute and a half is a gross feeling. If it happens twice in a game, that’s demoralizing. Today’s performance from the Philadelphia Flyers was lethargic. The first line on the ice today was Kevin Hayes, Scott Laughton, and Travis Konecny. That second line was sloppy and ineffective.
Throughout the entire game, the Philadelphia Flyers struggled to keep up with the speed of the Montreal Canadiens. It is not limited to that lineup. It was everyone on defense, especially the third pairing of Justin Braun and Shayne Gostisbehere. Alain Vigneault will not stand for this effort. The Flyers need to hold themselves accountable before game three.
Before the puck dropped to begin the game, Michael Raffl was skating during the pregame warmups. He may be called upon after Travis Konecny left the game in the third period after sacrificing his body against a shot. The Montreal Canadiens continued to brutalize the Philadelphia Flyers in the third period, shaking up Joel Farabee. Defensively, expect Robert Hagg to replace Justin Braun or Shayne Gostisbehere in game three. I would not rule out a Brian Elliott start to give Carter Hart rest either.
Sparking a sense of urgency for the Flyers
The series has tied a game apiece, and the Montreal Canadiens have the real momentum. When a playoff series has tied at one, the Philadelphia Flyers become average. They are 17-18 in playoff series knotted at one after the first two games. If the Flyers want to have a decent chance to get back at the Canadiens, they need to win Sunday night. Montreal’s five-goal shutout today should bother every Philadelphia roster member.
Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports