Flyers hang on to beat Habs, 3-2

It looked like it was going to be a rout at Wachovia Center. Or at least that’s what we thought; however, the Philadelphia managed to beat the Montreal Canadiens for their third straight win, 3-2.

With the Olympic break just hours away, the Flyers showed their primed to head into the break on winning ways. Michael Leighton was once again superb between the pipes stopping 23 shots on his way to winning his third straight game to improve his record to 11-3-1 as a Flyer.

The flood gates looked to be opening when the Flyers were on cruise control with a 3-0 lead until yet another goal deflected off a one of their players skate. Former Flyer Glen Metropolit took a shot that bounced off Danny Briere’s skate at 2:05 of the third period.

Jeff Carter seemed to get the scoring started when he poked in a scrambling puck until replays show that Scott Hartnell was the last player to get a piece of the puck as it passed Carey Price. Hartnell stands by his opinion that Carter should have been credited with the goal.

“Carter came in from the slot and poked it in there,” Hartnell said.  “I was jamming away and I didn’t see the video or whatever.  I think [Carter] should have got it.  I don’t know what they saw in the video, but whoever’s goal it is, doesn’t really matter, we got two points, the victory, especially against a team that’s right there neck-and-neck.”

Jeff Carter would add a definite goal when he took a snap shot from near the blueline at just over a minute into the second period. The goal came just nine seconds after Scott Gomez’s first period penalty had ended. Matt Carle made it 3-0 when he scored with a slow moving wrist shot from the point two minutes later.

The Flyers completely controlled the game for the first 40 minutes. It got away from them in the third but they held on.

“We took the air out of their tires in the second period,” Leighton said. “We dominated the whole game. As soon as they scored their first goal, they were after us. But the last five minutes, we played really well and shut them down.”

Newly acquired Dominic Moore who was playing in his first game with the Habs  Roman Hamrlik’s point shot into the net at 2:27 in the third.

The Flyers had plenty of chances to put the game away. At one point in the final frame they had three straight powerplays and couldn’t capitalize on a single one. Coach Peter Laviolette wisely used his only timeout to try and give his players a breather as it looked like the Canadiens were gaining momentum.

“[Our] guys were gassed and we had gotten away from our game a little bit,” Laviolette said. “We had a tough bounce [off Danny Briere] on that first goal and they gained momentum off it … On that timeout, we needed to get back to just keeping the game simple. We weren’t competing quite the way we needed to.”

The game started to get heated with 58 seconds t go when Darroll Powe received a 10-minute game misconduct after sending an elbow to the back of Jaroslav Spacek and sending him face first into the boards for a deserved boarding penalty.

The Canadiens couldn’t find a way to get past the Flyers defense and Leighton. The Habs had a 6-on-4 for the last 55 seconds of the game but failed to tie it up.

As the horn rang throughout the screaming Wachovia Center, a brawl ensued involving the 10 players that were on the ice. At one point, Leighton had to get into the scrum because of the fact the Flyers were out-numbered.

“I don’t know what happened,” said Ian Laperriere said, “Just frustration. We were six against four. I was just trying to help my teammates. I don’t what happened. It wasn’t a cheap game. It was physical. Nothing chippy like we’ve seen before. If they want to get into that, we’re pretty good at that, too.”

It was quite possible that this was retaliation from the Powe hit that was delivered just minutes before.

“That game happens really fast out there,” Laperriere said. “ … I don’t know if it’s retaliation. I don’t think Scott Gomez and [Brian] Gionta are going to retaliate. They got a lot of guys to do that … Just a matter of so many white [jerseys] out there against four black.”

Hopefully this game carries over into tonight’s game in Montreal. There will most likely be bad blo0d as these two teams will fight it out for one last win before the Olympic break.

Notes..

Jeff Carter’s goal was his 25th of the season. He leads the Flyers in goals and points. The Flyers have won nine of their last 11 home games at the Wach. A little bit of home cooking there, eh? The Flyers power play as explained earlier was putrid once again, going 0-for-5 and 2-for-26 in February overall.

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