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Montréal
Canadiens
42-34-6
Philadelphia
Flyers
22-48-12

23 SOG
28 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
MTL
PHI
game recap

Canadiens 3, Flyers 1

Tuesday, 08.16.2011 / 5:42 AM

Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -No way this game was going one second longer than needed for Montreal, not with David Aebischer simply sensational in regulation time.

Aebischer stopped 27 shots, and Michael Ryder and Alex Kovalev scored goals to lead the Canadiens to a 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night.

The Canadiens only needed the standard three periods to put this one away after opening the season with two straight shootouts. They split those, and now head home for Saturday's opener against Ottawa with two victories on their trip.

"We've played really well all three games," Aebischer said. "There's always a period of adjustment in a couple of areas, but I thought we've worked really hard and that's the key."

Montreal owes this one to Aebischer, who was stellar in earning his second win of the season in another hostile environment. The Flyers couldn't slip one past on the power play, wasting all eight chances, including an 0-for-4 effort in the first period.

Philadelphia went 1-for-5 on the power play in a 4-2 win at New York on Tuesday.

"This is a really frustrating loss because we really could have built something," Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We could have built from the momentum of the last two games and we didn't."

The Flyers trailed 2-0 going into the third, but R.J. Umberger scored nearly 2 minutes into the period to energize the crowd. It had no impact on Aebischer. He stopped 13 shots in the third and kept the Flyers winless at home this season (0-1-1).

Fittingly, the Flyers came up empty playing the final 1:53 on a power play. Chris Higgins added a short-handed, empty-netter in the final seconds.

"We did a lot better job to take care of our end in the third period, and we played a lot better defensively," Kovalev said.

Starting his third straight game and second in two nights, Antero Niittymaki had 20 saves for the Flyers. Even with a torn labrum in his left hip, Niittymaki seems to have edged out Robert Esche as Philadelphia's No. 1 goalie. Niittymaki decided to have a cortisone shot instead of surgery to repair the tear, and it appears it was the smart move, even though he has only one win, so far.

Niittymaki said his hip has not been a problem since his shot.

"I feel something once in a while, but nothing major," he said. "It doesn't bother me at all."

The Canadiens scored only 38 seconds into the game on Ryder's second goal of the season. Montreal jumped on a loose puck, and worked it around the boards before Ryder knocked it past Niittymaki.

"It's not fun to get scored on in the first minute," Niittymaki said.

The Flyers were all over Aebischer early in the period, firing one shot off the post, but wasted just under 7 minutes of power-play time. They had a two-man advantage for 58 of those seconds, but Aebischer never flinched.

Montreal caught a break early in the second on Kovalev's goal. The puck caromed to the left circle, and Nolan Baumgartner momentarily had his stick on it before the puck slid away from him. It came right to Kovalev who sent a quick wrist shot over Niittymaki's left glove to make it 2-0.

The Flyers skated off the ice to boos, a little quieter than usual because of a surprising number of empty seats.

Notes: Flyers D Mike Rathje was tentatively diagnosed with piriformis syndrome on Wednesday, and not a herniated disk as originally thought, trainer Jim McCrossin said. Rathje, sidelined since playing in the opener, will be examined again in the next two days to confirm the diagnosis. McCrossin said Rathje will only need an injection and not surgery. "In a best-case scenario, we are hoping Mike can be back on the ice late next week," McCrossin said. The Piriformis is one of the small muscles deep in the buttocks that rotates the leg outwards. If the muscle becomes tight it can put pressure on the sciatic nerve and cause pain which can radiate down the leg, according to the Web site http://www.sportsinjuryclinic.net. ... The Flyers open a four-game road trip Saturday in New Jersey.

scoring summary
1st Period
00:38
MTL
Michael Ryder (2) Wrist shot - ASST: Saku Koivu (2), Andrei Markov (3)
1 - 0 MTL
2nd Period
06:18
MTL
Alex Kovalev (1) Wrist shot - ASST: Tomas Plekanec (1), Sergei Samsonov (1)
2 - 0 MTL
3rd Period
01:51
PHI
RJ Umberger (1) Wrist shot - ASST: Jeff Carter (1), Mike Knuble (3)
2 - 1 MTL
19:41
MTL
SHG - EN - Chris Higgins (2) Wrist shot - ASST: NONE
3 - 1 MTL
penalty summary
1st Period
02:57
MTL
Chris Higgins  Hi-sticking against  Denis Gauthier
11:24
MTL
Andrei Markov  Holding against  Kyle Calder
13:37
PHI
Jeff Carter  Hi-sticking against  Andrei Markov
14:35
MTL
Alex Kovalev  Slashing against  Derian Hatcher
15:32
MTL
Tomas Plekanec  Diving against  Mike Knuble
19:02
PHI
Kyle Calder  Hooking against  Craig Rivet
2nd Period
10:47
PHI
Niko Dimitrakos  Holding against  Alex Kovalev
14:46
MTL
Mike Komisarek  Hooking against  Randy Robitaille
19:01
MTL
Craig Rivet  Hooking against  Kyle Calder
3rd Period
02:35
PHI
Geoff Sanderson  Hi-sticking against  Tomas Plekanec
05:17
MTL
Michael Ryder  Interference against  Simon Gagne
18:07
MTL
Mathieu Dandenault  Hooking against  Peter Forsberg
goalie stats
David Aebischer
SA: 28TOI: 60:00
Saves: 27EV: 15 - 16
PIM: 0PP: 10 - 10
SV%: .964SH: 2 - 2
Antero Niittymaki
SA: 22TOI: 58:14
Saves: 20EV: 14 - 16
PIM: 0PP: 3 - 3
SV%: .909SH: 3 - 3