Montreal 2 Philadelphia 3 (Wachovia Center)
After a reasonably good start for the Canadiens and a spurt of offensive pressure in the third period, the remainder of the game was characterized by disarray.
Does removing one player from the line-up make such a difference to the Habs being able to move the puck out of their own end? It does when his name is Andrei Markov. Perhaps it’s just a case of one injury too many with Markov joining the infirmary with snipers Andrei Kostitsyn, Mike Cammalleri, and Benoit Pouliot.
The Canadiens spent the last half of the first period and most of the second pinned in their own zone. Shifts were spent chasing Philadelphia puck carriers. When the Habs tried to transition, the Flyers got physical outhitting them 27-to-17.
The Canadiens deserve credit for making a game of it. Carey Price was the best Habs player on the ice for the first two periods despite giving up a soft goal. Then the forwards grabbed momentum scoring two early goals in the third period.
Newcomers Dominic Moore and PK Subban made an immediate contribution getting a goal and an assist respectively. Both players got ice-time on special teams in their first game with the Canadiens.
“We came back in the third, but it was one of those games where we just ran out of time,” Moore said.
Moore was out-muscled on the first Flyers’ goal by Jeff Carter but otherwise played well. He even saw duty on the number one line with Tomas Plekanec and Sergei Kostitsyn.
PK Subban provided a spark and was entertaining to watch. Subban played with determination and reckless abandon, which was exhilarating to see but also terrifying at times. While his potential is apparent and he is an engaging young man, Subban is not yet close to being ready for a jump to the NHL.
The Habs are being rewarded having shown patience with Ryan O’Byrne. O’Byrne led the team in hits and blocked shots. But he will be remembered for a superb defensive play, diving to disrupt a two-man Philadelphia break.
Josh Gorges merits a warrior’s medal for not only playing tonight after his scary injury on Wednesday, but for being on the ice for 22:45, second only to Roman Hamrlik.
Matt D’Agostini, David Desharnais and Maxim Lapierre each received less than nine minutes of ice-time. All three are in danger of losing their line-up spots when healthy bodies return after the Olympics.
The Canadiens may have one more player to add to the injury list. Jaroslav Spacek was cut and may have a concussion after a stiff check from Darroll Powe late in the third period.
With chippy play throughout, and ugliness to end the game, the stage is set for the back half of the home and home series with the Flyers on Saturday night at the Bell Centre.
Rocket’s three stars
1. Jeff Carter
2. Josh Gorges
3. Scott Hartnell
Material from wire services was used in this report.
(photo credit: Getty)