The first period was described by coach Martin St. Louis as their worst of the season, and the rest of Thursday was a frustrating uphill climb for the Montreal Canadiens.
Meanwhile, the past five games were a series of rough experiences for the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Canadiens will look to avoid their second three-game losing streak of the season while the Flyers will hope to stop a season-worst five-game skid Saturday night when the teams get together in Montreal.
Montreal is 3-4-1 over its past eight games since its 7-4 win over the St. Louis Blues on Oct. 29. The Canadiens dropped three straight before beating the Detroit Red Wings, Vancouver Canucks and Pittsburgh Penguins but head into Saturday after getting outscored 11-5 in losses against the New Jersey Devils and Columbus Blue Jackets.
Montreal followed up its 5-1 loss to New Jersey by never leading in a 6-4 loss at Columbus. The Canadiens allowed the first two goals, then got tying goals from Josh Anderson and Brendan Gallagher before allowing two goals in 60 seconds midway through the third period.
“We were just kind of going all in on certain plays and not, I guess, protecting the downside if something bad happens,” St. Louis said. “We gave up breakaways … to me it’s the breakaways that stick out to me more than the goals that we got scored on, and some of those breakaways were self-inflicted. It was just being careless a little bit.”
“We learned a tough lesson tonight,” Gallagher said. “The first period might have been our worst period of the year.”
Philadelphia has been experiencing tough lessons of late by getting outscored 23-9 during its longest skid under first-year coach John Tortorella. After allowing six first-period goals during the first four games, the Flyers fell behind the Boston Bruins midway through the second and yielded two power-play goals in the third, raising their total to seven power-play goals allowed in the skid.
Philadelphia is 2-5-3 in its past 10 games and Thursday was among its least effective offensive showings to date. The Flyers managed 23 shots on goal after getting at least 34 shots during the first four games. Owen Tippett scored the lone goal against Boston.
“We’re going to have to find a way to make more plays to get going offensively,” Tortorella said. “For a lot of minutes, I thought we checked well. We need the guys who can make plays when they’re there.”
Making matters worse was an injury to leading scorer Travis Konecny. Konecny, who leads the Flyers with seven goals and 19 points, was injured late in the second when his hand appeared to collide with Boston star David Pastrnak. He was replaced by Joel Farabee on Philadelphia’s top power-play line.
Konecny is day-to-day and if he sits out Saturday, he would join injured forwards Cam Atkinson (upper body), James van Riemsdyk (broken finger), Sean Couturier (back) and Wade Allison (oblique/hip) on the sidelines.
“When things aren’t clicking, it gets frustrating and you want to be able to build momentum for your team, whether it’s scoring or whether it’s just creating chances and turning the momentum in the game,” Tippett said. “I think when things don’t go, you just have to turn back to being simple.”
Montreal is 5-1-2 in the past eight regular-season meetings.
–Field Level Media