Goaltender Carey Price may be back but the Montreal Canadiens left the ice in frustration yet again following a 6-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night.
Montreal’s playoff hopes are long gone and now the team is immersed in a seven-game losing streak.
“I know we don’t have the results but the guys come in at practice, they’re engaged in meetings and we’d like a win to help with that engagement,” said Canadiens interim coach Martin St. Louis.
James Van Reimsdyk scored two goals and added an assist for the visiting Flyers while Provorov chipped in with one goal and an assist. Martin Jones made 30 saves in the win.
Price made 28 saves but the Canadiens (20-46-11) are still 0-3-0 since the star netminder returned from a long absence. Defenceman Jeff Petry said no one is happy with the poor results but he remains optimistic the team can finish the season on a bright note.
“I’ve been on teams where you just give up and just look forward to next year but I think that there are still things that we can improve on,” Petry said. “We’re going to make sure that we have a strong finish whether we’re getting the wins or not.”
Philadelphia (23-43-11) got on the board at 7:43 of the first period when van Riemsdyk grabbed a loose puck behind the net and banged it in from a tight angle.
Provorov gave the Flyers a two-goal advantage at 14:29 with a wrist shot from the faceoff circle.
The Flyers didn’t let a controversial sequence a minute later get to their heads. Brendan Gallagher made a hand pass to Mike Hoffman in the slot who tapped in Montreal’s first goal at 15:31.
Interim coach Mike Yeo said the Flyers’ bench “knew it was a hand pass” but didn’t confirm if the referee told them that they couldn’t challenge the play.
“They said there’s a mistake that happened and you know obviously I think the big thing for us is we didn’t let that derail us,” Yeo said. “We’ve been trying to talk about that a lot.
“How you deal with adversity, whether it’s game-to-game or in the course of the game, and I thought that our guys did a good job with that tonight.”
Montreal equalized when Jake Evans deflected Petry’s shot from the point at 5:28 of the second period but the Flyers regained their two-goal cushion on goals by Oskar Lindblom and Travis Konecny.
Philadelphia blew third-period leads in their last two encounters with the Canadiens. This time, the Flyers scored twice in the third – Morgan Frost and van Riemsdyk tallied 80 seconds apart – to help Philadelphia end a six-game losing streak.
“I think we did a much better job of just staying aggressive and sticking as a five-man unit,” said van Reimsdyk.
Montreal’s Cole Caufield notched his 19th goal of the season from a difficult angle at 17:33.