Flyers edge Canadiens 3-2 in Drysdale debut

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Montreal Canadiens’ David Savard (58) and Philadelphia Flyers’ Joel Farabee (86) collide during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

In the only game this season where the Philadelphia Flyers (21-14-6) played host to the Montreal Canadiens (17-17-6), fans got everything they paid for. It was Pride Night, a newly minted Jamie Drysdale made his debut, and he contributed with a powerplay assist in a 3-2 shootout victory.

Owen Tippett and Morgan Frost scored in regulation, tying the efforts of Sean Monahan and David Savard. In the shootout, Sean Couturier scored the lone marker, beating Cayden Primeau. The Flyers fought back, sticking to their gameplan after going down 2-0 on two shots in the first period.

After the win, Philadelphia holds third place in the NHL Metropolitan Division standings, closing in on the Carolina Hurricanes.

Philadelphia Flyers vs. Montreal Canadiens

Wasting no time, the Canadiens ignored the home-ice advantage of the Wells Fargo Center. Monahan, in under two minutes, began the scoring with a deflection goal. Justin Barron put the puck on the net, notching the assist to give Montreal an early 1-0 lead.

About halfway through the first period, Savard scored on a deflection. They added a second goal in the 11:38 mark in the first stanza. A puck sent at the net from up high by David Savard deflected into the net off an attempted block by Morgan Frost. Despite the attempt from Frosty, Michael Pezzetta and Juraj Slafkovsky nabbed the assists and they took a 2-0 lead. 

Yet the Flyers were not going to be shut out to end the first twenty minutes. They did have a good shot at the 7:25 mark. Joel Farabee had a good look at the net on a turnaround shot from the center slot and missed. Two shifts later, Frost set up a look for Tyson Foerster from the right hash marks. That was stopped too.

Philadelphia Flyers’ Samuel Ersson, left, and Joel Farabee celebrate after the Flyers won an NHL hockey game against the Montreal Canadiens, Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

But it wouldn’t take too long for Philadelphia to get on the board. Current scoring leader Travis Konecny sent the puck to Coots and he fired on Primeau. It deflected but rebounded to Tippett on the right side and he fired on from a tight angle and halved the Habs goal to make it 2-1. It was the 14th goal of the season for Konecny.

The first period ended as shots on goal were 10-2 in Philadelphia’s favor. Shot attempts were 20-8 for Philadelphia.

Now, the Canadiens are 10-0-0 this season when leading after two periods of play. Philadelphia wasn’t going to let that happen for long. They had two good shots in the second stanza but both of them missed the goal line by a matter of inches.

Shockingly, short-handed goals have been something of the Flyers’ point for excellent and they made it the third game in a row with one. After taking a pass from the new man in Orange and Black Drysdale, Frost sent a wrister from the top of the left circle and fired the puck into the net to tie up the game. Drysdale and Foerster got points for the assist.

Philly netminder Samuel Errsson had no luck stopping both goals in the first but through the next 45 minutes of regulation and overtime, he stopped all 17 shots he faced. The 2-2 score held through the 20 minutes of the final stanza and there was no luck through sudden death. A shootout was on the docket and there was only one man for the job: aptly named Shootout Sean.

Coots and his goal in the top of the first round stood as the only successful attempt for either side.

What’s next for the Flyers?

Philadelphia improved to 4-2 in shootouts, and the Canadiens fell to 4-4.

The Flyers will head to Minnesota to face the Wild on Friday night.

AP Photo/Matt Slocum