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Game 49: Canadiens vs Flyers AKA A Great Display

January 16, 2020, 10:34 PM ET [551 Comments]
Karine Hains
Montreal Canadiens Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
There was a treat for the fans tonight, Joel Armia came back after missing 12 games with a hand injury and that meant that Jordan Weal was a healthy scratch. The other line-up change wasn't as well received though as Julien elected to used Brett Kulak instead of Cale Fleury and of course, Carey Price was back in net. The Canadiens are not the only team to be nagged by the injury ninja though, the Flyers gave the net to Alex Lyon tonight since Carter Hart will be out of commission for weeks.

The Tricolore wasn't that dominating early on and when the Flyers took the lead, I wondered if this could be another long night for about 18 seconds which is the time it took for Tomas Tatar to level the score with less than a minute to go in the first. Early in the second Kovalchuk pushed the puck in after a Weber shot pretty much took down Cousins in front of the net when number 17 gave the Habs the lead before Lehkonen made it 3-1 11 seconds later. In the last period, Kovalchuk was the lone scorer and the Canadiens got a 4-1 over the team that is in the last wild card spot currently.

It was a great win and there are plenty of positives to take away from it. Firstly, Carey Price was smoking hot tonight. He made 40 saves and they certainly weren't all easy, that breakaway he stopped while on the power play was a turning point in the game. It wasn't just the fact that he stopped it but the way he did. He looked insanely calm in his net and let the shooter come to him until there was no more daylight to shoot at. Secondly, if Joel Armia felt rusty, it sure didn't show.He got 20 minutes and 49 seconds of ice time and played in all occasions while finishing the night with 5 shots, 3 hits and a block. All in all, a pretty good night at the office! And last but not least, at one stage, Ryan Poehling was hit from behind by Robert Hagg (even though there was no boarding call) and stayed down and who stepped up for him? None other than Jesperi Kotkaniemi! He wasted no time in confronting Hagg and dropping the gloves. Sure, he took an instigator penalty and it really isn't his job to fight but that move was worthy of a leader, a real team guy who will not let opponents take liberties against his teammates. In his post game comments, Philip Danault said that he was really surprised to see Kotkaniemi not only fight, but win and that it was an inspiration and a further motivation for the team. Judging by Weber's reaction below, it's fair to say that he approved of KK's actions:

For those who are keeping tabs on the Kovalshow, he added 2 goals tonight and did it with only 15 minutes and 38 seconds of ice-time. There is no doubt that his value is climbing more and more every game and should he keep this up, it really looks like Bergevin will be able to flip him at the deadline. I'll also add that the first line was very impressive tonight, they combined for 8 points and were just about everywhere on the ice.

The Canadiens now only have one game left before they enter their bye week and it will be against Max Pacioretty and the Golden Knights on Saturday night. Vegas was in Ottawa tonight and won 4-2 against the Sens...It looks like firing the coach did whip the troops into shape since they had lost 4 games in a row prior to tonight.
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