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

26 SOG
36 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
MTL
PHI
game recap

Canadiens 4, Flyers 2

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:51 AM

Associated Press

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Canadiens 4, Flyers 2
Montréal Canadiens 4, Philadelphia Flyers 2

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -The Montreal Canadiens are riding their third line combination of Chris Higgins, Tomas Plekanec, and Mike Johnson.

Higgins scored the go-ahead goal midway through the second period and added an assist to help the Canadiens beat Philadelphia 4-2 on Thursday night, handing the Flyers their fifth straight loss.

"I think we've got a lot of depth on this team," Higgins said. "Now with Plekanec and Johnson, we're adding a little more offense and a little more creativity to the line."

Johnson also scored a goal and Plekanec added two assists.

Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau said that the third line has given his club a big lift, especially since Higgins is returning to form after missing 18 games with a sprained ankle.

"When you miss over a month and a half and everybody else is at the top of their game, it's really kind of hard to match the speed of the other team," Carbonneau explained. "But the last few games when Higgins started to play with Plekanec and John son, he's been good."

Alex Kovalev, and Michael Ryder also scored goals,and Andrei Markov added a pair of assists for the Canadiens, who won their second straight.

Jeff Carter and Joni Pitkanen scored goals for the Flyers, who have won only three home games, the fewest in the NHL.

Higgins broke a 2-2 tie at 8:17 of the second period when he redirected a shot from the point by Francis Bouillon high into the net. Ryder added a power-play goal with a wrist shot from the left circle at 7:10 of the third period.

The teams combined for three goals within a span of 55 seconds early in the first period.

Johnson put the Canadiens ahead at 5:00 when he put in his own rebound.

Carter tied it at 5:25 with a deflection of a shot by Alexei Zhitnik.

Kovalev regained the lead for Montreal 20 seconds later when he scored from the right side after taking a cross-ice pass from Markov.

Pitkanen pulled the Flyers even 1:56 later with his first goal of the season, a one-timer that slipped between the pads of Montreal goaltender David Aebischer, on a power play.

Aebischer had 34 saves. His most spectacular play came late in the second period when he slid midway between the circles to knock a loose puck away from Simon Gagne on a breakaway attempt. He also blanked the Flyers on four power plays in the third period, including 1:43 of a two-man advantage.

"It wasan't easy to start the game like that," explained Aebischer about the early four goal flurry. "But sometimes you just have to battle through."

Philadelphia goaltender Antero Niittymaki, who has dropped his last 12 decisions (0-11-1), stopped 22 shots.

Despite another losing streak, Flyers coach John Stevens said that the team is making progress.

"I know with the score you guys are going to think I'm crazy," Stevens explained. "But we did a lot of good things and I thought tonight there were long stretches where we carried the play."

Eric Desjardins, who played for 11 seasons as a Flyers defenseman, was honored in pre-game ceremonies with gifts from the Flyers and Canadiens, his first NHL club, and a highlight video salute. Desjardins retired last summer after suffering a concussion, shoulder, and hip injuries.

"I always get butterflies before the game," said Gagne. "But it was a little more special tonight to see all the great moments Eric had with the Flyers."

Notes: Montreal's Plekanec and Sheldon Souray hit the left post and crossbar, respectively, within a 17- second span midway through the first period. ...The Canadiens began a three game road trip in five nights. ... Montreal LW Garth Murray returned after missing three games with a bruised hand. ... Philadelphia C Peter Forsberg returned after missing four games with a strained groin. ... Philadelphia LW Kyle Calder appeared in his 400th NHL game. ... RW Sami Kapanen played in his 200th game as a Flyer.

scoring summary
1st Period
05:00
MTL
Mike Johnson (8) Wrist shot - ASST: Chris Higgins (8), Tomas Plekanec (11)
1 - 0 MTL
05:25
PHI
Jeff Carter (4) Tip-in - ASST: Alexei Zhitnik (12), Sami Kapanen (6)
1 - 1 Tie
05:55
MTL
Alex Kovalev (11) Wrist shot - ASST: Andrei Markov (26), Saku Koivu (26)
2 - 1 MTL
07:51
PHI
PPG - Joni Pitkanen (1) Wrist shot - ASST: Peter Forsberg (17), Simon Gagne (13)
2 - 2 Tie
2nd Period
08:17
MTL
Chris Higgins (13) Tip-in - ASST: Francis Bouillon (5), Tomas Plekanec (12)
3 - 2 MTL
3rd Period
07:10
MTL
PPG - Michael Ryder (14) Wrist shot - ASST: Andrei Markov (27), Sheldon Souray (23)
4 - 2 MTL
penalty summary
1st Period
07:17
MTL
Chris Higgins  Hooking against  Randy Jones
11:34
PHI
Kyle Calder  Hooking against  Alex Kovalev
16:21
MTL
Maxim Lapierre  Boarding against  Sami Kapanen
16:21
MTL
Maxim Lapierre  Roughing against  Jeff Carter
16:21
PHI
Jeff Carter  Roughing against  Maxim Lapierre
18:37
PHI
Peter Forsberg  Slashing against  Mike Komisarek
18:37
MTL
Mike Komisarek  Roughing against  Peter Forsberg
2nd Period
06:01
PHI
Kyle Calder  Holding against  Saku Koivu
15:00
PHI
Jeff Carter  Cross checking against  Maxim Lapierre
17:01
PHI
Alexei Zhitnik  Roughing against  Saku Koivu
17:01
MTL
Saku Koivu  Roughing against  Alexei Zhitnik
20:00
PHI
Todd Fedoruk  Roughing against  Mike Komisarek
3rd Period
00:45
PHI
Sami Kapanen  Holding against  Alex Kovalev
02:02
MTL
Saku Koivu  Hooking against  Derian Hatcher
06:41
PHI
Todd Fedoruk  Misconduct (10 min)
06:41
PHI
Mike Knuble  Holding the stick against  Michael Ryder
09:20
MTL
Sheldon Souray  Hooking against  Jeff Carter
09:37
MTL
Francis Bouillon  Hi-sticking against  Mike Knuble
09:37
MTL
Francis Bouillon  Hi-sticking against  Mike Knuble
13:15
PHI
Alexei Zhitnik  Interference against  Saku Koivu
15:43
MTL
Michael Ryder  Hooking against  Mike York
goalie stats
David Aebischer
SA: 36TOI: 60:00
Saves: 34EV: 29 - 30
PIM: 0PP: 3 - 4
SV%: .944SH: 2 - 2
Antero Niittymaki
SA: 26TOI: 58:05
Saves: 22EV: 14 - 17
PIM: 0PP: 7 - 8
SV%: .846SH: 1 - 1