The Montreal Canadiens were looking to once again even their series against the Philadelphia Flyers but were shutout for a second straight game. The lack of scoring now has them facing elimination.
In Game 3, Carey Price and the Montreal Canadiens succumbed to a fluky goal early in the first period. That same goal would be the eventual game-winner for the Philadelphia Flyers as the Canadiens were shutout. In Game 4, the Montreal Canadiens faced similar issues.
A Similar Start
Michael Raffl opened the scoring in the first half of the period to give the Philadelphia Flyers a 1-0 lead with a top-shelf goal. The goal was also the result of a Montreal Canadiens turnover just outside of their zone. Sean Couturier and Jakub Voracek got the assists.
The Montreal Canadiens struggled to get shots on goal and had no real high-danger chances during the period.
Montreal Canadiens Unable to Create Chances
Flyers Extend Series Lead
By the third period of play, it was clear Montreal Canadiens interim head coach Kurk Muller had put his lines in the blender to must some sort of offence to get his team on the board. The long-time line of Brendan Gallagher, Philip Danault and Tomas Tatar that had found much success in the last two seasons was reunited but to no avail.
Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkaniemi, two of the Canadiens’ most productive forwards since the start of the NHL’s Return to Play, were also moved up and down the lineup to find a spark but were unable to find the back of the net.
Final Score: Philadelphia Flyers (2) – Montreal Canadiens (0)
Carter Hart Makes NHL History
As the Flyers take the series lead, Carter Hart managed to place himself in the record books as he became the youngest NHL goaltender to record back-to-back shutouts since 1945. Hart has been a difference-maker for the Philadelphia Flyers, a team that although may have the series lead, has still been dealing with issues on offense.
In order for the Montreal Canadiens to stay in this series, a similar performance to that of their Game 2 blowout win where they chased Carter Hart will be necessary. The team has now gone six straight periods without a goal scored.
Brendan Gallagher is a player the Montreal Canadiens have been waiting for since their series against the Pittsburgh Penguins to get going but now appears to be in his own head as frustration has seeped in. For a player that is usually in the 15-19 minute range in terms of ice time, Gallagher finished Game 4 with just 13:07 and was benched for over 10 minutes during the game. It remains to be seen if Gallagher has been dealing with any injuries or if a scoring drought has hit him at the least opportune time.
Jonathan Drouin was also met with similar treatment in being benched due to a lack of production. Drouin has scored two goals in his last 23 games played.
In the four games played, this series, the Montreal Canadiens have all but six goals in that span. If the Canadiens do get eliminated tonight, the blame does not fall on Carey Price, who has kept the scores close in each game played, but he cannot also be expected to score goals. The team in front of him will need to ensure that they can find the spark they need to extend this series and push for a Game 7.
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The Montreal Canadiens will have to stave off elimination as they face the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 5 tonight at 8:00pm ET. It can be viewed on Sportsnet East, NBCSN and the NHL Network. It can also be heard on TSN 690.