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POSTGAME 5: Paying the Price

Kovalchuk scores a pair, Price stops 40 as Habs score four unanswered to defeat Flyers, 4-1.

by Bill Meltzer @BillMeltzer

HERE'S WHAT HAPPENED
The Flyers lost for just the fourth time in regulation on home ice this season as they fell, 4-1, to the Montreal Canadiens at the Wells Fargo Center on Thursday night.

Joel Farabee and Tomas Tatar traded off closely spaced goals late in the first period, while Ilya Kovalchuk scored a pair of goals with Artturi Lehkonen rounding out the scoring. Phillip Danault recorded his three assists.

Making his first Flyers start of the season, Alex Lyon stopped 36 of 40 shots. At the other end of the ice, Carey Price turned in a 40-save performance for the victorious Habs.

Three Stars:
1st: Carey Price (40 of 41 saves)
2nd: Ilya Kovalchuk (2g)
3rd: Phillip Danault (3a)

TURNING POINT
Price's denial of Scott Laughton's shorthanded breakaway early in the second period and the two quick strikes by Kovalchuk and Lehkonen completely altered the outlook of the game. Philly spend the rest of the night chasing against Price, and making no scoreboard headway.

MELTZER'S TAKE
1. The first period was a rather sleepy one until late in the period. From a puck possession standpoint, Philly spent a bit too much time in their own end of the ice early on. From a quality of chance standpoint, high-danger chances were sparse for both sides until the closing few minutes. Shots in the first period were 13-12 in Montreal's favor. 

2. Joel Farabee made a pair of nice plays leading up to the opening goal. He needed that one. The rookie had been getting chances in recent games -- including a 2-on-1 earlier in the first period -- and finally got rewarded.Video: MTL@PHI: Farabee buries opening goal from the slot

3 Price stopped Scott Laughton rather easily on a shorthanded breakaway, and the Habs then struck for two goals in 11 seconds. Kovalchuk potted the rebound of a screened point shot from Shea Weber and then a neutral zone Flyers turnover went the other way and was re-directed home by Artturi Lekhonen off a setup by Phillip Danault as a 1-1 game became a 3-1 Habs lead in a hurry.

4. Second period shots were 19-9 in Philly's favor; Per Naturalstattrick.com. the Flyers had a 5-2 edge in 5-on-5 high-danger chances and 10-4 edge in overall scoring chances. However, Philly didn't get a lot of second chance opportunities. More traffic was needed than Philly generated. 

5. Jesperi Kotkaniemi took exception to a Robert Hägg hit on Ryan Poehling, dropping the gloves. The Finn got an instigator out of it. Philly generated good possession but Montreal was wise to multiple tip-play tries directed at JVR. Later, Kovalchuk's deep slot goal through some traffic gave Montreal a stranglehold on the game. 

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING
* Alex Lyon made his first start of the season and stopped 36 of 40 shots.

* Scott Laughton appeared in his 300th NHL tonight, all with the Flyers.

* Connor Bunnaman recorded an assist, giving him points in two of his first three games since being recalled (1g-1a).

* Ivan Provorov logged 24:09 in ice time, marking the eight straight game, every game of the New Year, that he has recorded over 24 minutes of TOI.

* James van Riemsdyk led the Flyers with eight shots on goal.

* The Flyers are back in action on Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Center. Puck drop is 7 p.m. on NBCSP & 93.3 WMMR.

THEY SAID IT

Video: Hear from Flyers coach following loss to MTLVideo: Hear from Lyon, Farabee and Giroux following loss

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