CANADIENS (25-14-5) at FLYERS (22-17-4)
The Canadiens head to Philadelphia and will attempt to shut down an improved Flyers team in front of their fans on Wednesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
In their most recent outing, the Habs downed the Florida Panthers 2-1 at the Bell Centre on Monday night. The Canadiens controlled play throughout, peppering Tim Thomas with 35 total shots. David Desharnais opened the scoring in the first period with a nifty backhand spin move in traffic, while Brendan Gallgher jammed the puck past Thomas only to see his goal waved off due to the referee’s whistle. Sean Bergenheim would tie the game at one before the end of the opening frame, but the Habs continued to press. Brian Gionta netted the eventual game-winner when Tomas Plekanec forced a turnover behind the Florida net in the third period. Carey Price made 26 saves on 27 shots to pick up his 20th win of the season.
The Flyers, meanwhile, are coming off a 3-2 overtime victory over the Devils in New Jersey. After Michael Ryder tied the game with a short-handed marker with 30 seconds remaining in regulation time, Brayden Schenn scored the game-winner just under two minutes into the extra frame to lift Philadelphia to their second straight win and seventh win in their last eight games. Ray Emery made 31 saves to pick up his fifth win of the season.
Peter Budaj will get the start in goal against the Flyers on Wednesday night, while George Parros could be back in the lineup after being sidelined for an extended period of time with a concussion.
After a disappointing start to the season, the Flyers have heated up, losing only three times in regulation in the month of December. After going goal-less in October and only posting four tallies through November, captain Claude Giroux put up 19 points in 14 games last month while playing over 21 minutes per game for head coach Craig Berube. Other noteworthy offensive contributors include Wayne Simmonds, who leads the team in goals, and Jakub Voracek.
On defense, the Flyers field a veteran top-four composed of Braydon Coburn, Kimmo Timonen, Niklas Grossmann and Mark Streit. Steve Mason is the team’s undisputed starter. He holds an outstanding 2.39 GAA and .922 save percentage in 32 appearances.
The Flyers will be missing Marc-Andre Bourdon and Erik Gustafsson, who are both on injured reserve. Matt Read and Michael Raffl are day-to-day.
The Canadiens, meanwhile, will be deprived of Alex Galchenyuk’s services for the next six weeks after he suffered a fracture in his hand on Monday night against the Panthers. He should, however, be back in the lineup after the Olympic break.
Wednesday’s game will be the third and final meeting between the two teams this season. The Habs won 4-1 at home in early October, while Philadelphia got its revenge at home on December 12, winning 2-1 courtesy of a goal from Claude Giroux.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST.
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