Flyers ‘taken aback’ in Montreal, 4-1

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Nick Suzuki and Alex Newhook
Montreal Canadiens’ Nick Suzuki (14) and Alex Newhook (15) celebrate a goal against Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Samuel Ersson (33) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, March 28, 2024, in Montreal. (Christinne Muschi/The Canadian Press via AP)

‘Yeah, more like ‘taking back goals,’ right?’

In one of the more frustrating games of the season, the Philadelphia Flyers (36-28-10) had two goals erased from the scoreboard. The Montreal Canadiens (28-32-12) had one overturned while leading by a pair. It was likely the most disjointed game of the Flyers’ season.

These two teams square off again in a dozen days. On the way, Philadelphia must go on a winning streak to find the confidence they displayed during their seven-game ‘best of the NHL Eastern Conference‘ gauntlet.

Each team held pace to start. Cam York and Joel Farabee checked well in both the offensive and defensive zones. Arber Xhekaj served a minor penalty for slashing, but the Canadiens killed the powerplay. Scott Laughton recorded a shot on goal, saved by Cayden Primeau. The Flyers finished 0/4 on the powerplay.

Travis Sanheim served a minor penalty for interference. Nick Suzuki dunked a cross-ice feed from Juraj Slafkovsky on the powerplay past Sam Ersson, 1-0. Suzuki accounts for the third powerplay goal surrendered in as many games by Philadelphia.

Jesse Ylonen pushed the lead to two for Montreal. Jayden Struble took the initial shot on Ersson, creating a rebound chance. Ylonen quickly backhanded the rebound past Ersson, 2-0. His backhanded goal was the first since a two-goal performance versus the Vegas Golden Knights in November 2023.

Ronnie Attard and Adam Ginning had a tough outing. They moved down the lineup, taking on the bottom pair of minutes. Attard put the Canadiens back onto the powerplay, but the Flyers executed a successful kill. Philadelphia finished 1/2 on the penalty kill.

A lot of people thought Garnet Hathaway cut the deficit in half. Ryan Poehling tried a wrap-around attempt, and the puck was loose on the crease. Hathaway crashed the crease, but a distinct kicking motion upon review overturned the play. At first glance, it seemed Josh Anderson might’ve pushed Hathaway in the crease, but it wasn’t the case.

Tyson Foerster cut the deficit in half, right? Unfortunately, no. His scoring play was overturned, too. He was an edge offside as Morgan Frost carried the puck into the offensive zone. Two disallowed goals kept a potential 2-2 score at 2-0 in Montreal.

“They’re the right calls. I looked at them. I think they’re the right calls. We just kept on playing, and I still think we had more opportunities. I felt confident that we were going to come back right to the bitter end. Unfortunately, it’s offside; kicking motion, I don’t know, but they make the call.”

John Tortorella; 3/28/2024

Suzuki had his second goal taken away, too. The officials were making these calls against both clubs. He would’ve scored a deflection goal, but the stick was above the crossbar before he batted the puck past Ersson.

Once the disjointed play settled, Ersson and Primeau made big saves. Ersson denied Joel Armia twice, and at the other end, Primeau shut down a shot by Sanheim. However, the Flyers missed other grand opportunities with Primeau out of position, which could’ve changed the game’s trajectory. The Canadiens’ defense helped Primeau when he needed it, a difference between the opponents.

“I think we had eleven or twelve chances in the third period, and Primeau shut the door. I still think we’re there even towards the end of the game. We ended up with chances, he made some really good saves.”

John Tortorella; 3/28/2024

John Tortorella pulled Ersson. Armia scored an empty net goal, 3-0. Owen Tippett spoiled the shutout bid for Primeau. Travis Konecny skated to the point, found Hathaway along the goal line, and bumped the puck to Tippett for the wrist shot release past Primeau, 3-1. This goal was the first goal allowed by Primeau on home ice in nine periods of hockey.

The icing on the cake was another empty net goal, this time by Jake Evans, 4-1. These teams will collide again on April 9th to decide the season series.

Next Up

Next, the Philadelphia Flyers host the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday at 7pm.

(Christinne Muschi/The Canadian Press via AP)