The Flyers continued their dominance on the penalty kill Wednesday and it helped them defeat Montreal, 3-1, and increase their home winning streak to 10 games.
The penalty kill was 4 for 4, and it has been successful in its last 19 kills over a six-game stretch.
“We’re just sticking to the system and working hard. That’s the key on the PK, I think,” rookie Michael Raffl said. “We know what they we’re trying to do and we tried to have good sticks, be in position all the time, and I think we did a good job.”
Montreal managed only five shots, total, on its four power plays.
“We take a lot of penalties, so it’s obviously a huge part of our game,” said goalie Steve Mason, referring to the team’s penalty-killing ability. “The guys we have on the kill are extremely competitive and sacrifice themselves blocking shots, especially our defensemen. They’re a huge reason why we’re having success right now.”
Assistant Ian Laperriere, who handles the penalty-killing units, has helped cultivate that success, coach Craig Berube said.
“He does a real good job of scouting the other team and taking away their options, taking away their strengths. I think that’s the biggest thing,” Berube said. “The players are doing a great job. Penalty killing is about everybody on the ice being more committed than the power play, blocking shots, clearing pucks, goalies making big saves, so they’re all on the same page.”
Sean Couturier and Adam Hall led Flyers forwards in shorthanded minutes (4:40 each) on Wednesday, while Chris VandeVelde (2:44) and Zac Rinaldo (2:15) also contributed. The defense was led by Braydon Coburn (4:59) and Kimmo Timonen (4:48) while shorthanded.
Strange decision. Trailing 3-1, Montreal coach Michel Therrien decided not to pull goalie Peter Budaj for an extra skater _ even though the Habs had the puck in the Flyers’ end with about a minute left.
“You know what, in the third period we got four (actually, five) shots on net,” Therrien said. “When you have momentum and you’re creating a lot of chances, there is a reason why you can take a goalie out, especially when you’re down by two goals. But when you have four shots on net and you’re down by two goals, there is no reason.”
In other words, Therrien waved a white flag.
Breakaways. Defenseman Luke Schenn led the Flyers with seven hits and three blocked shots….Rinaldo played just 4:53 but scored a goal and had a game-high four shots…. Defenseman Andrej Meszaros had three assists (see story) and was plus-3; Claude Giroux and Luke Schenn were each plus-2….The Flyers host Tampa Bay on Saturday afternoon.
Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.