MONTREAL - Here are a few key storylines from Saturday afternoon's 4-3 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers at the Bell Centre.
Limiting the odd-man rushes
In the aftermath of his team's sixth straight loss on Thursday, head coach Claude Julien spoke of the need for his players to not do too much in the interest of limiting mental breakdowns and mistakes.
After the Flyers game, the Habs bench boss said he saw some improvement there.
"We did a much better job. We have a pretty dangerous team offensively. We limited their scoring chances much more than we had been, especially quality chances. From that point of view, it was a step forward," outlined Julien. "We got a point, which is better than we've done lately. These are things we can build on, and we're going to try to bounce back tomorrow in Boston."
Goaltender Keith Kinkaid, making his first start since November 16 at home against New Jersey, felt that his team did a good job limiting odd-man rushes in front of him.
"I don't even remember a two-on-one. They did great coming back, not giving up those two-on-ones and breakaways," the netminder said of the Canadiens, who rallied back from a one-goal deficit in the third period to help send the game to overtime. "Maybe they had a few three-on-twos, but I think we sorted that pretty well. Philly made a nice play on their [overtime] goal there. But for the most part, we were really good defensively."
Video: Keith Kinkaid on limiting odd-man rushes
Soothing the sting
Julien liked what he saw from his triad of Finnish forwards, with Joel Armia leading the way by scoring his ninth of the season and recording a game-high nine shots on goal.
"Armia was very good tonight. [Artturi] Lehkonen too," praised Julien. "In [Jesperi] Kotkaniemi's case, we're starting to see him unblock after his injury. Those are encouraging signs."
Progress that may soothe the sting of dropping a seventh in the row, but it's a sting nonetheless.
"It's all about one win. Once you get that win, you just start to move forward and play with more confidence," outlined Tomas Tatar, who scored a pair of goals including the third-period equalizer. "But to be honest, it just hurts when you play a good game and you end up losing in overtime."
Video: Tomas Tatar on the loss to the Flyers
Steady debut for Olofsson
The Habs recalled defenseman Gustav Olofsson on Friday, and it's a good thing they did: fellow rearguard Victor Mete went down with a lower-body injury mid-game and didn't return.
It may have presented a bit of a challenge for the 24-year-old Swede, who was playing his first game as a Hab and getting his first taste of NHL action since 2017-18. Olofsson said he felt a bit rusty in his return to the big leagues, but wasn't fazed by having to change defensive partners on a five-man rotation with Mete out.
"It's been the same same down there in Laval. Guys get hurt and you play with whomever, and it's just a matter of fitting into the system and that should kind of take over," said Olofsson, who played 56 games with the Minnesota Wild over parts of three seasons. "I think a lot of guys stepped up tonight and did well with the five D and more minutes."
Julien was satisfied with the way the former second-round pick handled himself under pressure.
"From what I saw, he did well. It was his first NHL game in more than two years," said Julien of Olofsson, who finished with a minus-2 differential, three blocked shots, and one shot on goal in 11:16 of ice time. "So it's not easy, especially against one of the best teams in November. The Flyers are playing with a lot of confidence. It wasn't an easy game to make a debut."
The Canadiens departed for Boston immediately following the game. They face the Bruins at 7:00 p.m. at TD Garden on Sunday.