A quick-hitting look at the Montreal Canadiens, the Flyers’ unlikely and yet dangerous opponent in the opening round.
1. The Canadiens had given up on the season in February, sending a number of players for draft picks at or near the trade deadline. One of those moves was shipping Nate Thompson to the Flyers for a fifth-round selection. Thompson is the Flyers’ fourth-line center and a reliable penalty-killer.
2. Montreal captain Shea Weber was very nearly a Flyer. He signed a 14-year, $110 million offer sheet from then-general manager Paul Holmgren in the summer of 2012 only to see it matched by Nashville, his team at the time. Weber, who turns 35 on Friday, was traded to the Canadiens prior to 2016-17. His annual cap hit ($7,857,143 according to Spotrac) is ninth among defensemen.
3. Four players were atop the league lead in plus/minus rating after the first week of play. Montreal’s Ben Chiarot, Artturi Lehkonen and Paul Byron, and the Flyers Phil Myers all enter this round at plus-6.
4. Byron is listed at 5-foot-9, 158 pounds. He and Brendan Gallagher (also 5-9) are Montreal’s alternate captains.
5. See if Robert Hagg exchanges pleasantries with Montreal rookie Jesperi Kotkaniemi. In the last game between the teams, Kotkaniemi took exception to Hagg’s hit on Ryan Poehling and surprised the Flyers defenseman by instigating a fight. It’s the only NHL bout for Kotkaniemi, the third overall pick in 2018.
6. None of the current Canadiens players have won a Stanley Cup, but head coach Claude Julien did with Boston in 2011. He beat the Flyers in the second round after blowing a 3-0 series lead the year before.
7. Julien and Alain Vigneault have combined to coach 2,802 games counting playoffs and regular season.
8. Vigneault’s first NHL head coaching job was with the Canadiens from 1997-2000. He was replaced by Michel Therrien, who was then replaced by Julien in Julien’s first stint behind Montreal’s bench. Got all that?
9. The Canadiens haven’t won the Stanley Cup in 27 years, making 12 coaching changes along the way. The Flyers have made 13 in that same span.
10. Tomas Tatar, who led the Canadiens with 61 points, did not have a point in the four-game qualifying round stunner over Pittsburgh. The primary job for him and linemates Brendan Gallagher and Nick Suzuki was containing Sidney Crosby’s line. Be interested to see who Julien tries to match them up with in this round.
11. Max Domi, the fourth-line center, led the Canadiens in scoring last season with 72 points. He had 44 this season, and went from a +20 to a -3.
12. Cayden Primeau, who grew up in Voorhees and whose father was once a Flyers;’ captain, is one of the four goalies Montreal brought to Toronto. He was scratched during the qualifying round as Charlie Lindgren serves as Carey Price’s backup.
13. Price will be the fourth consecutive former Vezina winner the Flyers will have faced this postseason. He won the award in 2015 and led the league in games played (58) this season.
14. Price and the Canadiens held the Penguins without a goal for the final 94:26 of their series.
15. Price’s dad, Jerry, was a goaltender drafted by the Flyers in 1978. He never reached the NHL. Mom, Lynda, is the chief of Ulkatcho First Nation, which has led Price to speak out and support causes working to end racism.
16. Montreal took the Flyers to overtime twice during the season, and lumped them up in Philadelphia, 4-1, on Jan. 16. Sean Couturier and Ivan Provorov scored the OT winners for the Flyers.
17. Montreal’s longest winning streak of the season was three games, which they did four times.
18. The Canadiens went 0-for-12 on the power-play and still stunned Pittsburgh in the qualifying round. The Flyers were 0-for-11 and managed to capture the No. 1 seed.
19. Defenseman Jeff Petry had two of the three game-winning goals against the Penguins, including in overtime in Game 1. His father, Dan Petry, was the No. 2 starter for the Tigers when they won the World Series in 1984.
20. Petry allowed a video team to follow his family during a game this year, and 4-year-old son Boyd stole some of the show. Dad did his part with four assists that night as the Canadiens beat the Panthers.