About Last Night: Pitlick leads late comeback win in Philly

Rem Pitlick, Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield and Chris Wideman had two points each in the overtime victory.

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Rem Pitlick scored the tying goal and assisted on the winner to give the Canadiens a 4-3 late comeback win in overtime over the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday at Wells Fargo Center.

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Pitlick’s shorthanded goal to send the game into the extra frame came with 43 seconds left in regulation and Chris Wideman in the box. Cole Caufield scored the game-winner in overtime. Nick Suzuki had Montreal’s other two goals.

Let’s fast forward to the winner. Caufield came off the bench after Mike Hoffman broke his stick. I’ve ripped a slapshot past Carter Hart to end it in style.

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Both teams played on Saturday, which possibly explains why the game was sluggish in the early stages. Artturi Lehkonen was a late scratch because of an upper-body injury. As planned, Joel Edmundson did not play consecutive games.

Kevin Hayes had the lone goal of the first period. The Flyers completed an impressive tic-tac-toe passing sequence entering the zone, with Hayes the trigger man in front. His flick of the puck in the open cage gave Philly a 1-0 lead.

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Suzuki tied it up early in the second on the power play. Ryan Poehling performed the drive-by screen that distracted Hart just enough for Suzuki’s shot to punch through the goalie’s underarm. Poehling’s night came to an end prematurely later in the period after taking a hit by Justin Braun. The team announced he suffered an upper-body injury.

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The Flyers regained the lead thanks to a goal by Claude Giroux, who also got his 900th career point in the process. Goalie Samuel Montembeault stretched out his pad, but couldn’t get it far enough to prevent Giroux from jamming it in.

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Just over a minute later, Suzuki tied it up. He created his own chance by beating Rasmus Ristolainen to the outside and cutting in, then he scooped his own rebound up and over Hart for the 2-2 equalizer.

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Cam Atkinson gave his team another one-goal lead early in the third period. Joel Farabee fed him in front with a turnaround pass from the slot. Atkinson’s redirect beat Montembeault five-hole.

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With a minute left in the third period and the goalie pulled, Chris Wideman ran interference on Farabee, kneeing him in the groin in the process. The officials missed the initial infraction, but changed course after Farabee remained down. They initially charged Wideman with a five-minute misconduct, which allowed them to check video review. Upon review, Wideman was assessed a two-minute minor instead.

It meant the Habs would be playing shorthanded for the rest of regulation. With the goalie still pulled, Pitlick tied the game with 43 seconds left. Ristolainen slid into the boards, giving Ben Chiarot a chance to get the puck in the corner. I found Pitlick alone in front, who redirected the puck past Hart.

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In overtime, Mike Hoffman broke his stick on a scoring chance, but it turned out to be a fortuitous accident, since he returned to the bench and Caufield jumped on in his place. Pitlick fed him the puck as he was entering the zone. Caufield leaned back and ripped a bullet top shelf for the 4-3 overtime winner. It also gave the Habs three points out of four over a weekend pair where they didn’t necessarily play their best hockey.

Building a team, or rebuilding one, involves a lot of patience in drafting and developing the stars of tomorrow. But you also need to get lucky on a few scratch tickets. Pitlick may have an unsustainable 31.6 per cent shooting percentage, but he continues to take advantage of his opportunity from him in Montreal after arriving via the waiver wire from Minnesota. He might be a guy who sticks around, even if it’s just as an energy forward.

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Picking up Pitlick might’ve been more shrewd than lucky, but it’s fortunate for Montreal he likely won’t qualify for Group 6 unrestricted free agency this offseason. Qualifying depends on age and games played, and while he won’t reach the usual 80 game cutoff, that number was lowered because of the shortened COVID seasons. The always informative Capfriendly has the details here:

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The Liveblog commenters devoted their weekend to the Habs and were rewarded with an unexpected conclusion to Sunday night’s tilt.

3. “Ristolainen seemed like he could be a great player (a few years ago) but he is anyone but, a career -175 and keeps up the mediocre play.” -Philip Marlowe

2. “They haven’t exactly played great the last 2 games, but unlike earlier in the season, MSL won’t let them quit, and the result is 3 out of 4 points. Nice shot by CC…..he can fire it!” -Bob Taylor

1. “When we first hired Gorton, I used to watch him in the press box shaking his head. Then we hired Hughes and they were both shaking their heads. (ha). But once we hired MSL, things changed. The players we once thought were our most valuable, are no longer considered to be our “most valuable”. It doesn’t surprise me that we’re taking our time re-assessing our players. I’m not expecting a lot of trades before the trade deadline. I think most of our moves will take place during the off-season, once our new “3-man” management team has had some time to digest everything.” -Carin Latzel

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