By Sam Carchidi
PHILADELPHIA -- The Flyers are off to their best 15-game start since 2011-12.
Sean Couturier scored with 4 minutes, 5 seconds left in overtime as his shot trickled over the line after hitting off Carey Price, lifting the Flyers over Montreal, 3-2, at the Wells Fargo Center.
It gave the Flyers points in four straight games (3-0-1) heading into the weekend’s daunting task: back-to-back games at Toronto on Saturday and at Boston on Sunday.
The Flyers (8-5-2) have 18 points, their most in the first 15 games since the 2011-12 team started 8-4-3 for 19 points.
Carter Hart (22 saves) bested his boyhood idol, Carey Price, who kept his team in the game by making 40 saves on 42 shots through regulation. The Flyers took a 2-1 lead into the third, but it could have easily been at least 4-1 if not for Price’s sensational play.
The Flyers outshot the Canadiens, 43-24.
With the score tied at 2-all and 6:43 left in the third, Flyers rookie Carsen Twarynski was pulled down by defenseman Shea Weber and awarded a penalty shot. But Twarynski was denied by future Hall of Famer Price.
A misplay behind the net by goalie Carter Hart led to a goal by Weber that tied the score at 2-2 with 15:55 left in regulation. Phillip Danault got past a failed Jake Voracek poke-check in the neutral zone to put the sequence in motion.
A delay-of-game penalty on Montreal gave the Flyers their sixth power play with 9:27 left in regulation, but they did little against the NHL’s second-worst penalty kill. That made them 0-for-6 on the power play, though they scored one goal just after a Canadien came out of the penalty box.
Montreal did not have any power plays on the night.
Earlier, shortly after a Flyer power play expired, James van Riemsdyk scored on a rebound after he Flyers swarmed the net and created a scramble in front of Price. It was van Riemsdyk’s fourth goal – and eighth point in the last eight games—and it put the Flyers ahead, 2-0, after 49 seconds of the second period.
Montreal was getting totally outplayed, getting outshot by a wide margin, and getting beat to loose pucks for most of the first two periods. But the Habs got to within 2-1 on a rare trip into the Flyers’ end.
Defenseman Ben Chiarot scored on a rebound of a shot taken by ex-Flyer Nick Cousins with 6:16 left in the second period.
At one point in the second, the Flyers had a 33-13 shots advantage – and a 32-8 domination since the game’s first five-plus minutes.
After starting slowly, the Flyers controlled the last 15 minutes of the opening period.
With 6:09 left in the first, they took a 1-0 lead when defenseman Phil Myers scored on a wrist shot from the point. Travis Konecny and Twarynski screened Price. Twarynski kept the play alive with some good work behind the net.
“I was just trying to play aggressive on their forward and trying to keep the puck in,” said Myers after his first goal of the season and second in his young NHL career. “I tried to keep it simple and put it on net.”
Price made 17 saves in the first, none better than his robbery of an all-alone Couturier in front with 5:09 left in the session. He also denied Konecny from point-blank range earlier in the period.
Down the other end, Hart was sharp for the second straight game. He stopped all 12 shots in the first, including a pair of Montreal chances from the doorstep.
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