(East Los Angeles, CA.) August 22, 2020 [From The Editor’s Desk]: As these Dog Days of Summer 2020 move on and, no less amid the dreadful COVID-19 pandemic, we as sports fans, are all experiencing a nice sort of return to normalcy when it comes to our viewing and becoming engrossed to our highest levels of fandom possible. Except for the MLB scare, most games have been played according to the “Re-Start” schedule and the NHL continues on its drive to the Finals of its most illustrious reward, the revered Stanley Cup. So, this one’s for you, to all of our devoted hockey fans from East L.A. and Beyond.
Philadelphia vs. Montreal – Game 6: The Flyers Advance And Leave The Canadiens In The Dust.
Full Game Recap By Joe Perry: The puck dropped in Toronto for a much-anticipated elimination game – the Philadelphia Flyers up (3-2) in their series against the Montreal Canadiens looking for one more win to advance to the Round of 8. For more coverage and schedules of the Playoffs, click here.
Philly managed to score with their very first shot on net, barely (28) seconds into the game. It was a simple looking play. The Flyers got the puck off a draw in Canadiens’ zone and slid it back to Kevin Hayes on the Blue Line who took step forward and wristed one on. The puck was tapped softly in midair by Shea Weber and redirected up and through. Montreal goaltender Carey Price never had a chance to see it. After this, Montreal had a lot of good opportunities created from a retaliating sort of effort, yet they couldn’t capitalize on any.
The second goal for the Flyers, making it (2-0) in the 1st period, was off the tail end of a power play. Hayes once again, taking good aim, missed the net, but possession was retained by Philly. Then, a quick pass from behind net and out on a nice diagonal back to Hayes who was circling – he skirted around the edge of the paint and threw it low on goal where Artturi Lehkonen’s stick accidentally tapped it through the legs of Price for an own-goal. Price reacted with disgust, more bad luck.
Before the 1st period ended, Montreal’s Nicolas Suzuki put a point on the board to make it (2-1). A powerplay allowed the Canadiens to move the puck around quite nicely on the perimeter. Then a pass zipped to the middle where Joel Armia punched a strong shot on goal despite all the sticks all around him. The shot hit Suzuki in the arm, in front of the net, and Suzuki did an excellent job of finding that rebound and backhanding it through the five-hole of Hart. The Flyers in the dying moments of the period, hammered a handful of good shots on net, which were met with solid saves by Price, but this mini-surge started to swing the momentum back to Philly.
The Flyers opened the 2nd period with a sweet goal off a turnover to make it (3-1). In retrospect, this turned out to seal the Canadiens fate. Montreal’s Ben Chiarot got his stick lifted on the offensive and had the puck stolen from under his nose and it led to an odd-man-up forecheck for Philly, where Jakub Voráček swept in hard on the right wing with the puck now attached to his stick. He slid it across center where Travis Sanheim picked it up and flung a shot on net with all his might. It hit the left post past Price who once again couldn’t see a thing. Turns out Chiarot was trying so hard to get back on defense that he was baited by Philly’s Michael Raffl and the pair knocked into Price a bit, leaving him unable to make a save.
Then, Suzuki made another appearance for his second goal of the night, the score now (3-2). The Canadiens dumped the puck in and Montreal’s Jonathan Drouin showed heart and quickness to get there first. He was able to throw the puck back across through the slot in front rather than wrapping around the back. Suzuki, unseen on the wing by Philadelphia’s goaltender Carter Hart, found some net exposed when he received the pass and slapped the sharp angle shot home. Montreal was energized at the end of the period and their shots (almost doubling Philly’s) reflected that, (19-10) in their favor at the time. However, the very end of the period saw the Flyers swing momentum back to their side with more possession and this bled into a dominant 3rd period for Philadelphia.
Montreal seemed sleepy at the end. They threw some pucks on net but they were too predictable. Puck movement felt slow. To the Flyers credit they were playing hard “D” to hold their lead, but it felt like the Canadiens should have put it into another gear to survive on elimination night. The final faceoff, in the Flyers’ defensive zone no less, was actually won by Montreal but Suzuki himself could not hold onto it as Nate Thompson from Philadelphia stripped him and then ate the clock near the boards until the game ended (in a skirmish).
The only two victories in this series for Montreal came from scoring 5 goals each time. In the Flyers’ wins, almost always a very low-scoring game, typically holding their opponent scoreless. The Philadelphia Flyers are very much a contender to be this year’s Stanley Cup champion. Defense wins championships, and their front guys on offense are both slippery and persistent. They’re a “steady-eddy” kind of team that now are going on to face a confident New York Islanders team who easily handled the Washington Capitals. Let’s see if the Flyers defense can contain the Islanders’ firepower. If so, it might be another successful series where Philadelphia marches into the final four.
[About Our Correspondent]: Joe Perry is our new Sports Correspondent and Cinema-TV-Entertainment Columnist for East L.A. Sports Scene. He was born in New Jersey and raised by two public school teachers who loved taking him on World tours. He is a recent June, MFA graduate from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts Program in Film & TV Production. Duly noted here, while growing-up, Joe was a huge fan of the New Jersey Devils. He is now covering the re-start of the National Hockey League, (NHL) and the Stanley Cup Playoffs.