Sean Couturier gave the surprising Flyers another wild victory celebration at home. Maybe the gritty wins — rather than, all eyes on Gritty — will finally make the fickle Philly fans take notice.
Couturier flipped a shot from the slot that trickled past Carey Price just 55 seconds into overtime to give Philadelphia a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night.
Price had been fantastic in regulation but somehow let the first shot of OT slip past him. He was stunned as the Flyers went wild and celebrated another victory around him.
“I think the way you have to beat him is to surprise him,” Couturier said.
The Flyers have rebounded from a slow start to earn a point in a season-high fourth straight game (3-0-1) and they won in front of another lethargic Philly crowd. Phil Myers and James van Riemsdyk also scored for the Flyers, and Carter Hart stopped 22 shots.
Ben Chiarot and Shea Weber scored for Montreal. Price stopped 40 shots and was the first star of the game in a losing effort. Price stretched for cross-crease saves, toughened up to stop a penalty shot and made save-after-save against a Flyers team that swarmed him on each puck possession.
But the easiest shot of the game was the one that got away.
“We want to do better for our goalie. He was the best player on the ice,” Chiarot said. “We have to do better for him. Without him, that game wouldn’t have even been close win the beginning of the game.”
The Flyers are 6-1-1 at home under new coach Alain Vigneault.
“I think we are starting to be a little bit more structured,” Couturier said. “Guys are starting to play the right way. Everyone is starting to push in the same direction.”
They rebounded in OT after blowing a 2-0 lead.
Myers swiped the puck from a scrum and shot through traffic from two steps inside the blue line to score his first goal of the season. The Flyers took the last eight shots of the first period and had a whopping 34 overall through two periods — or, about one for every fan at the game. Once the toughest ticket in town, the Flyers played at a Wells Fargo Center thousands of fans short of a sellout. Rage rooms and Gritty and fancy cocktails haven’t gotten fans to turn out for a team that hasn’t won a playoff round since 2012, especially on a rainy, dreary night in Philadelphia. The Flyers said 16,788 fans were at the game — though there were rows and rows of empty seats and unfilled suites.
The ones that did come saw van Riemsdyk score his fourth goal of the season off a scramble in front of the net for a 2-0 lead in the second.
Hart, who had been fantastic in a matchup against his goalie idol, couldn’t hold the lead. Chiarot beat Flyers forward Kevin Hayes to a rebound and knocked in the puck from one knee late in the second to make it a one-goal game.
Weber evened it early in the third on a one-timer for his third goal of the season. Price was sensational against a Flyers team that took 42 shots in regulation.
Carsen Twarynski wasted a chance to score the go-ahead goal when Price stopped him on a penalty shot with 6:43 left in the third.
“Our goalie held us in there and gave us a chance to win tonight. By far our best player,” Weber said.
Notes: The Flyers went 0-for-6 on the power play. … The Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation and the Goals & Assists program will make a $500,000 donation to West Chester University toward scholarship money for hockey program students to use at WCU. The organizations have donated $1 million for students of the Snider hockey program to use at West Chester. At least 25 students will benefit from this program over the next eight to 10 years. … Montreal C Jesperi Kotkaniemi missed his fourth straight game with a groin injury. … Flyers D Sam Morin suffered a torn ACL in his right knee and will miss the rest of the season. Morin was injured on Wednesday playing for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on a conditioning assignment.
Canadiens: Host Los Angeles on Saturday night.
Flyers: At Toronto on Saturday night.