Tomas Tatar – Phillip Danault – Ilya Kovalchuk
Max Domi – Nick Suzuki – Joel Armia
Artturi Lehkonen – Jesperi Kotkaniemi – Ryan Poehling
Nick Cousins – Nate Thompson – Dale Weise
Ben Chiarot – Shea Weber
Marco Scandella – Jeff Petry
Victor Mete – Brett Kulak
Carey Price – Charlie Lindgren
Cale Fleury, Jordan Weal
Paul Byron, Jonathan Drouin, Brendan Gallagher
This was a fun game for the players and the fans. The plane ride back to Montreal will be a whole lot more fun than the one that brought the club into Philadelphia.
Carey Price stood on his head, stealing the game for the Canadiens. Price made 40 saves in a game where the Flyers had far more high quality shots.
It was fun to watch Ilya Kovalchuk add two goals to his total as he auditions for post-season work with a playoff team.
Jesperi Kotkaniemi got the clear win in his fight with Robert Hagg. Kotkaniemi showed a different side standing up for a teammate after Hagg delivered a questionable hit on Ryan Poehling.
It was a good game for Phillip Danault who has been struggling, with just two goals in his past dozen games. But tonight Danault benefited from the offensive production of his wingers adding three assists.
It was a feel good win for the Canadiens. They now head back to Montreal for a date with the Golden Knights on Saturday. Vegas will have newly-hired Peter DeBoer behind the bench.
This game will usher in a period of reflection and decision for Marc Bergevin as he meets with his hockey operations crew during the bye week. If he is being honest, the general manager knows that his team will not make the playoffs. There will be time for a post-mortem later, but the task at hand is to identify moveable players who will bring in usable assets.
There are obvious candidates here including Jordan Weal, Nick Cousins, Nate Thompson, Dale Weise, Ilya Kovalchuk, Marco Scandella, Brett Kulak, Matthew Peca, Charles Hudon, Michael McNiven and Xavier Ouellet.
But what of Tomas Tatar, Jeff Petry and Victor Mete?
Clearing the decks would allow the Canadiens to maintain their core while removing obstacles to their prospects. In addition, the biggest obstacle to effective transition to the NHL stands behind the Habs bench. Will the general manager have the guts to turf Julien?
But the fly in the ointment here is Bergevin. Will he do the right thing? His ego might take a hit as many of the prime candidates for ejection were bad signings. But if he has any hope setting the Canadiens in the right direction, he has to move the deadwood.
The other issue may be the organization’s insistence on propping up Laval with NHL-experienced players. The organization wants a win and getting the Rocket to the playoffs may be the consolation prize.
Is it good for development? Absolutely not. But it would be a minor success to add to the resume.
The Habs return to Montreal to host the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday at the Bell Centre.
Plus / Minus
▲ Carey Price, Artturi Lehkonen, Ilya Kovalchuk, Phillip Danault, Tomas Tatar
▼ Brett Kulak, Dale Weise, Nate Thompson, Nick Cousins