PHILADELPHIA - The Canadiens exorcised their Eastern Pennsylvania demons on Saturday night in a big, big way.
Down 3-0 in the third period to the Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center, Michel Therrien’s troops stormed back to score three unanswered goals in a span of 7:35 before Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau beat netminder Ray Emery in the shootout to lift the Habs to a 4-3 win. It was also their third straight comeback victory on road ice.
The win also snapped the Canadiens’ 10-game losing streak, including playoffs, in the City of Brotherly Love dating back to April 2010, and ran the team’s record to 3-0 to start a season for the first time since 2005. Interestingly enough, all of those wins came away from the friendly confines of the Bell Centre, too.
“We had nothing to lose in the third period. We started playing the same way we’d played late in the games in Washington and Toronto. We started skating and we scored the first goal. That gave us a little life. Then, we just kept going. Every single line that went on the ice had good shifts and put on good pressure. We just kept going at them,” offered Tomas Plekanec, who scored his fourth goal of the season on Saturday night, bringing the Canadiens to within a goal of tying things up before Alex Galchenyuk scored the equalizer with 5:20 remaining in regulation time. “It shows the great character we have on this team. We find a way to come back every time. There’s something good on this team. It’s something that we keep going to.”
And, that’s exactly what transpired once again in Philadelphia. After being outshot by a 27-18 margin through 40 minutes, the Canadiens regrouped and peppered the Flyers’ net with 19 shots in the final frame alone while conceding just four shots on goaltender Carey Price. In the end, the Habs were rewarded for their efforts, and they now sit atop the league after claiming six out of a possible six points to start the 2014-15 campaign.
“The win does a lot of good for the team. It’s huge. I think we had a good game all along, but we just weren’t able to score in the first two periods. Fortunately, we were finally rewarded in the third,” explained Parenteau, who picked up an assist on Plekanec’s tally in addition to the shootout-winner. “The Flyers were a little bit tired because we spent some long shifts in their zone. By staying in there a lot and working hard, they finally gave in. We knew that by working and dominating offensively, we’d get results. That’s what happened.”
While the Canadiens were pleased with the way things ultimately played out, they know full well that starting slow and falling behind early isn’t a recipe for success in the long run.
“All we’d talked about before the game was having a good start. That was the message that we’d gotten from the coaching staff. There were no secrets there. I don’t think it was that bad a period in the first. They just put up those two goals [four minutes into the first period], but we’ve got to be sharper and we’ve got to be better in the first period of games,” confided Plekanec, who registered his second multi-point game of the season while logging 20:16 of ice time. “We’re making it hard on ourselves. We need to have a good start, and that didn’t happen again. We've got to clean it up and we've got to play 60 minutes."
Carey Price, who turned aside 29 of 32 shots against to register his second win of the season, shared similar sentiments in the aftermath of a tilt that simply had it all.
“Playing from behind isn’t something you want to do every night. You don’t want to make it a habit. I definitely think we want to get off on the right foot and get a better start. Playing catch-up isn’t rolling the dice, so we definitely want to work on our starts,” offered Price, who denied Vincent Lecavalier, Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier and Matt Read in the shootout on Saturday night. “We weren’t pleased with our performance and our effort in the first two periods, but we came out and probably played our best period of the year so far in the third. We just found a way to do it.”
And, as any player would tell you, in the end that’s all that really matters.
“The game plan is to win. We just have to continue doing that. It was a frustrating game until the third period, but at the end of the day, we’re leaving with a win. That’s what counts,” offered Galchenyuk. “It’s a lot of fun to win. Sometimes, it’s easy and sometimes it’s not. It doesn’t matter how we do it. We take the good and the bad. We just need to keep the momentum going and continue moving ahead.”
Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for canadiens.com.
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