Ylonen, Allen lead Canadiens over Flyers 5-2
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Jesse Ylonen had a goal and an assist for his first career multipoint game, Jake Allen made 24 saves and the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 5-2 on Friday night.
Chris Tierney, David Savard, Josh Anderson and Nick Suzuki also scored for Montreal, which followed up Tuesday’s impressive win over New Jersey with another solid performance.
“It was one of our best games of the year,” Anderson said. “We were really balanced tonight and it showed. When everybody’s in the right spot, it’s easy to play like that. It just looked like everybody was connected.”
Owen Tippett and Ivan Provorov scored for Philadelphia, which has lost seven of nine since the All-Star break. Carter Hart made 26 saves.
The game pitted two of the Eastern Conference’s worst teams, but the Canadiens looked like Stanley Cup contenders against Philadelphia.
“As a group, we were sluggish,” Flyers coach John Tortorella said.
Montreal skated circles around the Flyers in a dominating first period that ended with the home team being booed off the ice. The rest of the game pretty much followed that pattern.
“I think we were very organized for the whole game,” Ylonen said. “We played a very mature game, and even when we got the lead, we still kept doing the same thing, keeping it simple. So I think it was very good.”
The Canadiens peppered Hart during a power play early in the first, with Philadelphia’s goalie making strong saves on slap shots from Mike Hoffman and Rafael Harvey-Pinard to keep the game scoreless. But Montreal kept up the pressure and netted a pair of goals in the final 2:10 of the period to go in front 2-0.
Savard opened the scoring by shooting under Hart’s right arm from close range after a pretty chip pass from Hoffman set him up perfectly. Tierney gave the Canadiens a two-goal lead with 5 seconds left in the first. Michael Pezzetta won a battle behind the net and fed the puck in front to a wide-open Pezzetta.
“That’s a kick in the teeth,” Tortorella said.
Suzuki scored the only goal of the second on a power play for his team-leading 45th point. Montreal got the man-advantage when the Flyers’ Wade Allison received an instigation minor and 10-minute misconduct in addition to a fighting major for his scrap with Alex Belzile. It took just 19 seconds for the Canadiens to take advantage when Suzuki’s pass to the front of the net deflected off defenseman Provorov’s stick and high over Hart.
“We made plays that were there,” Anderson said. “We didn’t really force much. And we still played a smart game, too, when we needed to get it in and forecheck.”
Tippett gave the Flyers some life with a wrister that whizzed past Allen just 9 seconds into the third, but Ylonen answered with his first of the season on a deflection 6 1/2 minutes into the period.
The Canadiens pulled within two points of the Flyers, who have 56. Only Columbus, with 41 points, has less in the conference.
“I just think we were off tonight,” Philadelphia’s Scott Laughton said. “That wasn’t how we play. They played with the puck. We watched. Didn’t move our feet. They made us pay.”
NOTES: Philadelphia Eagles defensive lineman Brandon Graham pounded the drum the home club uses to get the fans cheering at the start of the contest. ... Philadelphia leading scorer Travis Konecny (upper body) missed his second straight game. ... Montreal forwards Joel Armia and Kirby Dach both sat out with illnesses. ... Philadelphia dropped to 11-15-3 at home, while Montreal improved to 11-15-3 on the road.
Canadiens: Play the second of a back-to-back at Ottawa on Saturday night.
Flyers: Play the second of a back-to-back at New Jersey on Saturday night.
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Aaron Bracy, The Associated Press