TORONTO - Ivan Provorov, Kevin Hayes and Michael Raffl scored to lead the Philadelphia Flyers into the second round for the first time in eight years with a 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens in Game 6 on Friday night.
The Flyers won the series 4-2 and are on to the second round in the Eastern Conference for the first time since 2012. The Flyers have not played in the Stanley Cup Final since 2010 or won the championship since 1975. The Flyers will move on to play the New York Islanders.
Carter Hart again was stout for the Flyers and stopped 31 shots for the top-seeded Flyers Nick Suzuki scored two goals for the Canadiens.
The Flyers scored just 28 seconds into the game when Provorov redirected one past Carey Price for the lead and the seventh time in the postseason they scored first. Hayes beat Price about 6 minutes later for his first goal of the season and a 2-0 lead. The Flyers have made it this far in the postseason without any major production from their top scorers. Travis Konecny (24), Hayes (23), Sean Couturier (22), Claude Giroux (21), and James van Riemsdyk (19) all failed to score a goal headed into Game 6. The Flyers even scratched van Riemsdyk for multiple games during the playoffs.
The Flyers have received goal production from deep in their lines and Hart, of course, has been fantastic. He had two shutouts against the Canadiens and the 22 year old is playing every bit like the franchise goalie the Flyers expected. He just couldn't stop Suzuki. Suzuki angered the Flyers -- and he later apologized -- after he tapped Hart on the head after the Canadiens tied the score in Game 5. He gave them more fits in Game 6. He scored late in the first to make it a one-goal game.
Raffl helped create a turnover in the second, led the rush and scored for a 3-1 lead. Suzuki again came through for Montreal and scored his fourth goal in 10 playoff games to make it 3-2. The Flyers played without defenseman Matt Niskanen after the league suspended him one game for breaking Brendan Gallagher's jaw. It was a big loss for Montreal; associate coach Kirk Muller called Gallagher "the heartbeat of our team."
"He didn't look like he was hurt other than obviously it looked like he had a cut," Flyers coach Alain Vigneault said before Game 6. "I believe that if the Montreal medical personnel felt that it was something real serious, they would have probably taken him off and brought him inside. I can only state the facts and state what I was watching. What I was watching was a guy that just kept on talking so he didn't seem like he was hurt."
Notes: The Habs finished 4-8-1 without Gallagher in the lineup this season. ... Vigneault has led two other teams to the Stanley Cup Final but never won a championship. ... Montreal played its final five games without coach Claude Julien after he needed a stent inserted into his coronary artery.
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