The Philadelphia Flyers extended their home winning streak to 10 games on Wednesday, but the biggest story to come out of their game with Montreal may have come from the losing side.
That's where Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban spent most of the third period stapled to the bench in a game his team was trailing, while coach Michel Therrien refused to pull his goalie late in the third period. Granted, scoring two goals with the extra attacker isn't exactly a high percentage play, but it did just happen in the NHL the night before when Pittsburgh did it in Vancouver. So it's not like it's impossible. You at least have to give yourself a chance. Therrien and the Canadiens did not do that in Philadelphia.
After the game Therrien talked about the benching of Subban, which seemed to be the result of a bad penalty in the second period, and emphasized the "team concept." Those types of messages are all well and good, but is it really helping the team when your best player and perhaps your most dangerous offensive player is watching from the bench in a reasonably close game?
Tough night all around for the Canadiens, who just could not sustain any pressure in the Flyers' end of the rink.
Elsewhere in the NHL, the Rangers picked up a huge win in Chicago thanks to a nice bounce back by Henrik Lundqvist, while the Avalanche knocked off the Ottawa Senators in overtime thanks to Tyson Barrie's game-winning goal.
All the NHL Scores
Flyers 3, Canadiens 1
Rangers 3, Blackhawks 2
Avalanche 4, Senators 3
On Wednesday we asked you five burning questions about the days games. These are your cool, soothing answers.
1. Will the Blackhawks extend their point streak?
They did. Chicago entered its game against New York riding a 10-game point streak but saw it end with a 3-2 loss on home ice to the Rangers. The Blackhawks had their chances, especially late, but couldn't beat Henrik Lundqvist for the equalizer. Chicago starter Corey Crawford also had some problems in the first period when he let in a couple of rough goals to put the Blackhawks in a 2-0 hole.
2. Which Rangers team will show up in Chicago?
We saw the good Rangers team for a bit, and we saw the bad Rangers team for a bit. We saw the bad Henrik Lundqvist, and we saw the great Henrik Lundqvist. It was pretty much the entire Rangers season all stuffed into one game, but there was enough good to outweigh the bad to give them a 3-2 win on the road in a tough building against a great opponent. Considering the Flyers also won on Wednesday it was a big two points for the Rangers.
3. Will Nathan MacKinnon have another two-goal game for Colorado?
MacKinnon failed to score a goal for the Avalanche in its 4-3 overtime win against the Ottawa Senators, snapping what had been a two-game two-goal streak. He's still playing some strong hockey right now and has seven goals in his past eight games.
4. Can the Flyers continue to distance themselves from the pack in the Metropolitan Division playoff race?
Did they ever. Their 3-1 win over Montreal was not only a rather dominating performance against a team and coaching staff that seemed to be mailing it in in the third period, it also continued their climb up the Metropolitan Division standings. The win gives them 50 points in the standings and moves them three points ahead of the third-place Rangers, four points ahead of the Capitals, five points ahead of the Hurricanes, and seven points ahead of the Devils. Also of importance: There was a Hartnell Down.
5. Will Patrick Kane gain some ground in the scoring race?
The one play or moment from Wednesday that is going to be making headlines over the next couple of days.
Just what was Michel Therrien trying to do in the third period against Philadelphia? Sitting his best player in a game that was still winnable, not pulling his goalie down by two late in the game, and his team did next to nothing to generate any sort of a threat in the third period. It's almost as if he should have played his best player more and maybe given his team an extra attacker at the end.
Stat of the Night
Clarke MacArthur scored his 15th goal of the season for the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday night after signing a two-year contract in free agency. Think the Toronto Maple Leafs could use a guy like him on their roster after they did everything they could to not use him in the playoffs a year ago and pretty much cast him aside this offseason? The only player in Toronto with more goals than MacArthur's 15 this season is Phil Kessel.
Post to Post
- What's behind Alex Ovechkin's huge goal scoring numbers this season?
- When building an Olympic roster, you don't need to (and probably shouldn't) build it like an NHL team.
- Are the Flyers better when Claude Giroux plays less?
- The ever-frustrating Marek Zidlicky.