Observations from the Flyers’ 2-1 win over Montreal.
All Hart. The questions from the Canadian media during the week were often about whether Carter Hart could withstand the pressure of his first playoff series, against his childhood hero Carey Price, no less. He stopped 27 of 28 shots, was strong on rebound control and is the reason the Flyers have won Game 1 of a playoff series for the first time since 2012. Got some help from the crossbar in the final minute, too.
Don’t be fooled by the score. The Flyers had too much trouble clearing their own zone — whether it was clumsy clearing attempts or pesky Canadiens’ forechecking. Even steady defenseman Matt Niskanen looked like he was still in round-robin mode as the Canadiens kept forcing errors.
Save of the game. Scott Laughton thought he had an open net and cranked up the howitzer for a sure goal. Price dove back into play and deflected the shot with the blade of his stick. Happiest guy might have been Montreal teammate Nick Suzuki, who was in the line of fire. “I don’t think that’s going to be topped [for the rest of the playoffs],” said NBCSP analyst Chris Therien.
Our three stars. Carter Hart, Carey Price, Joel Farabee. The official three stars were Hart, Ivan Provorov, Jeff Petry.
More power to ya. These teams came into the series 0-for-23 combined on the power play. Naturally, each scored on their first power-play opportunities. Ivan Provorov originally was credited with the goal, which would have been the first of his playoff career (in his 10th game). But it later was given to Jake Voracek who provided a solid screen in front of Price.
Whither Jake. Jake Voracek returned to the lineup after missing the final round-robin game and was on the third line with Derek Grant and Nic Aube-Kubel. Joel Farabee was on the first line with Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux. Voracek even got to take a faceoff for the first time since Feb. 1 — 193 days ago.
Many happy returns. Hart turned 22 on Thursday. Let us all hope he never plays a game the day before his birthday ever again.
That was dumb. Montreal defenseman Xavier Ouellet is lucky he didn’t injury his own goalie when he decked Derek Grant into Price on a first-period chance.
The kid’s alright. Farabee scored the Flyers’ second goal 16 seconds after Montreal had tied it. The Flyers have an uncanny knack for coming right back on the next shift following a goal allowed. With no fans in the stands, the only momentum to be had must be generated (or stopped) by the players.
Shots all around. Montreal had one shot on goal in the first 13 minutes of the game. The Canadiens had 82 shots on goal against the Flyers in their final two meetings of the regular season, plus another 31 that were either blocked or missed the net. This easily could have gone the other way if Hart wasn’t so stellar.