PHILADELPHIA – It’s never easy for the Flyers when they play the Montreal Canadiens.
The record book shows that of teams they have played more than a hundred times in their history, the Habs and Boston are the only ones with winning record against them.
Thursday night’s contest against the Quebec crew was a perfect example.
The Flyers raced off to a 2-0 lead and seemed to have things under control, especially with a 33-13 edge in shots late in the second period.
But Montreal showed its true colors, getting goals from Ben Chiarot at 13:44 of the second period and Shea Weber at 4:05 of the third period to tie the score at 2-2.
The Flyers hung in there and got a game-winning goal from Sean Couturier at the 55-second mark of overtime.
“I just tried to use the D-man (Victor Mete) as a screen,’’ Couturier said. “TK (Travis Konecny) used his speed to back guys off and he dished to me. I tried to get a quick release to surprise (goaltender Carey) Price. He’s a good goalie when he sees the puck – that’s kind of the way you have to beat him, surprise him.’’
Couturier’s shot actually hit Price’s glove and then trickled into the net.
Considering the 43-24 dominant edge in shots, this one would have been a tough one to lose.
“I think so,’’ Couturier said. “It (a loss) would have been frustrating. The power play didn’t get the job done (it went 0 for 6) but at the end of the day we found a way to get the two points.’’
Price is a former Vezina Trophy winner, so the Flyers knew they had their work cut out for them.
“We knew it was probably going to take a full 60 (minutes) to beat those guys,’’ said James van Riemsdyk, whose goal early in the second period gave the Flyers a 2-0 edge. “And it took a little bit more. The first half of the game we were right in their face.
“We got away from that in the mid to late part of the game, which is why they came back. But overall, if we can play a full 60 like that, we’ll be pretty happy.’’
Defenseman Philippe Myers got the Flyers off to a quick start with a goal at 13:51 of the first.
Myers gained control of a sliding puck near the blue line, turned and fired a shot which sailed past both Konecny and Price.
It was Myers’ second NHL goal. He tallied one last year.
“I was just trying to play aggressive on their forward and trying to keep the puck in,’’ Myers said. “It came to me and I sort of took some ice, tried to keep it simple and put it on net.”
Later, Myers talked about his play since being recalled from the Phantoms.
“I’m real happy I’m getting the coaches’ trust here,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, Hart came up with his third straight win and appears to be playing with a lot of confidence at the moment.
“I thought we battled, competed, we were throwing pucks on net,’’ Hart said. “It’s the first time I’ve beaten him (Price). That was cool. The first time I played him (in Montreal), I was a little star-struck and got pulled that game.’’
The Flyers made it 2-0 at the 49-second mark of the second period. Just as a Montreal penalty was expiring, Claude Giroux fired from a wide angle in the right circle. Jake Voracek took several whacks at the loose puck before Montreal’s Paul Byron tried to clear. But Byron fumbled the puck and van Riemsdyk fired it past Price.
Montreal started its comeback when ex-Flyer Nick Cousins delivered a shot off Hart’s chest protector. The rebound came right to Chiarot, who made no mistake.
Weber scored off a close-range shot and the Flyers knew they were in for another tight finish.
“That’s the game that was in front of us,’’ head coach Alain Vigneault said. “You have to focus on the next shift, continue to do things the right way.
“It could have been three or four to nothing at some point in the second period but their goaltender gave them a chance. We just had to continue to do the process the right way, took it to overtime and were able to beat a very good goaltender.’’
>Morin suffers another torn ACL
Tempering the Flyers’ good mood in the post-game room was the news that defenseman Sam Morin suffered his second ACL tear in his right knee in the past two years and most likely will be lost for the season. The injury happened in the Phantoms’ game against Wilkes-Barre.
Myers played with Morin on the Phantoms and was saddened to hear the news.
“You never want to see one of your good buddies get hurt,’’ Myers said. “After what he’s been through. . .I’m here for him. It really stinks.’’
Carsen Twarynski was awarded a penalty shot at 13:17 of the third period and did not score.