You had a feeling that once Mike Richards scored shorthanded in the first period to tie the game that this game was going to start heading in the wrong direction for the Montreal Canadiens. Consider that gut feeling fulfilled as the Philadelphia Flyers are now 20 minutes away from reaching the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since 1997.
At 3:07 of the second period, Arron Asham was able to wheel and deal and get Habs netminder Jaroslav Halak out of position to break the 1-1 tie. Just a minute and a half later, Jeff Carter would receive a quick pass from behind the net from Mike Richards and rip the snap shot over Halak’s left shoulder and into the net to give the Flyers a 3-1 lead. Montreal would do nothing to help their own cause, taking a couple of bad penalties late even giving Philadelphia an extended 5-on-3 power play. While the Habs would kill it off, spending any inordinate amount of time not playing offense will doom the Canadiens.
Philadelphia, with help from the Habs penalty problems, would outshoot Montreal 12-6 in the second period, giving the Flyers a two period advantage 18-15. It’s happened already in the playoffs, but this is gut check time for Montreal and they’ll need to get a goal fast to try and take the crowd out of the game and seize the momentum.
Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.
Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:
Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).
The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.
For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”
On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.
With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.
“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”
As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.
It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.