All of the other Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series’ finished in five games. If you are new to the sport of hockey, the Philadelphia Flyers versus Montreal Canadiens series was for you. A series of storylines, bad blood, and scrappy hockey wrapped up on Friday night as the Flyers eliminated the Canadiens. Both teams were without top tier players to finish the series. For the first time since 2012, Philadelphia advances to the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Heading into game six, Matt Niskanen received a one-game suspension from the NHL for a crosscheck that broke Brendan Gallagher’s jaw. As a result, Gallagher is out for the rest of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Philadelphia Flyers have an uncanny ability to avoid back-to-back losses. Once again, the Flyers recovered against the Montreal Canadiens in this series. Carter Hart outlasted his childhood idol, Carey Price, 3-2.
Fast starts will kill even the best of teams. Within thirty seconds, Ivan Provorov tallied with his first postseason goal. Kevin Hayes won the faceoff in the offensive zone, setting up Provorov’s wrist shot. Five minutes later, Hayes swept the puck right past Carey Price to give the Philadelphia Flyers a two-goal lead. Halfway through the first period, Robert Hagg served a penalty to put the Montreal Canadiens on the powerplay. Nick Suzuki scored his first of two goals, but the Flyers finished the period up 2-1.
Four and a half minutes into the second period, Michael Raffl went back to work in this series. He stole the puck from Ben Chiarot and established a presence next to Carey Price. Travis Sanhiem took a shot that deflected off Raffl to put the Philadelphia Flyers up, 3-1. Just over thirty seconds later, Nick Suzuki scored his second goal. Jonathan Drouin showed great vision, passing the puck across the crease to Suzuki for a one-timer score.
Carter Hart and the Philadelphia Flyers only had to keep the Montreal Canadiens off the scoreboard for one period. They were able to do that in the third period. The Canadiens led in shots throughout the entire game. At the end of two periods, the Flyers shot total in game six was lower than their shot total in game two. After the final horn, the victorious Hart had a moment with his childhood idol, Carey Price, that he will never forget.
Throughout the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, the Philadelphia Flyers had Shayne Gostisbehere and Robert Hagg on rotation. Game six was a different story since Matt Niskanen served a one-game suspension for his crosscheck on Brendan Gallagher. Is it crazy to believe that Gostisbehere should be a top-six defenseman who rotates in for Justin Braun? Hagg has played well in the series, and Gostisbehere stepped right in on the first line with Ivan Provorov. Using Gostisbehere as a top-six defenseman provides powerplay depth for the Flyers too, which is necessary.
Kill Your Idols
This series against the Montreal Canadiens has been nothing short of surreal for Carter Hart. He recorded his first playoff series victory, became the youngest Philadelphia Flyer to record a playoff shutout, and eliminated this childhood idol. After the third period in game six, Hart met with Carey Price following the two teams shaking hands.
“He said, ‘Helluva series’ and he’ll be watching. Pretty special, and definitely something I won’t forget.”Carter Hart; 8/21/2020
The Philadelphia Flyers have themselves a franchise goaltender in Carter Hart. His ongoing playoff run continues to show that.
Past and Present
In the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs, the Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference Finals. That was the last time these two franchises faced each other in the playoffs. The Flyers made a Stanley Cup Finals appearance that year and lost to the Chicago Blackhawks. To have a chance, you have to make it to the dance. Next up is the New York Islanders, but this 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs feel as special as a decade ago.
Mandatory Credit – Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire