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Drop the Puck Already: Flyers-Canadiens

Flyers going for three; Habs for five in tonight's matchup in Montreal

by PhiladelphiaFlyers.com @NHLFlyers

The Flyers held a full morning skate at the Bell Centre in Montreal in preparation for their final game before their Bye/All-Star week. The Canadiens did not hold a skate due to their back-to-back and travel from Columbus. 

Nevertheless, below are news, notes & quotes to come out of the morning.

 

* Carter Hart was first off the ice and will get his fifth consecutive start tonight. Despite it being his first at the Bell Centre, at the NHL level, it won't be the first time in a pressure-packed situation for the rookie netminder, who played here at the 2017 World Junior Championships.

Flyers interim head coach Scott Gordon talked about that pressure and how that has prepared him for his recall to the team at such a young age.

GORDON: "I think the added pressure has come from the day he got drafted, what he did the last two years of junior from the success he's had in being the top goaltender in Canada and then going to the World Junior Championships and winning it last year. He's been under the microscope for a long time with the anticipation of potentially being the guy that the Flyers have been waiting for a long time ... there's nothing wrong with the process that he's gone through but I do know that's something that even though you're trying to avoid, it's present all the time."

* With it being a full skate, the Flyers spent time working on special teams and are continuing to stick with the first unit featuring five forwards, one of which is James van Riemsdyk, who has been a big net-front presence.

JVR: "It's been good. Obviously being in Toronto for the last little bit, the last two years we had the best power-play in the league and I like to think I played a good part in that too, but here, that's part of coming to a new team. You're coming from a place where you're very comfortable in your role and all those certain things and you come to a new team and they're trying to figure out how to best use you and you're trying to figure out how you best fit in with the team so it's not always a seamless process as much as you'd like it to be so you keep working at it and you go from there."

* Having been cleared for full contact, defenseman Samuel Morin is on the trip and was out there defending against 1st unit.

 

BEHIND ENEMY LINES

* Carey Price stopped 34 of 35 shots in the Habs win at Columbus on Friday. Although no starter has been named, the Habs are expected to go with Antti Niemi in goal.

* In the previous six back-to-back situations, the Canadiens have split goaltending duties in five of those instances. Carey Price played both ends of their back-to-back on Dec. 1 vs. Rangers and Dec. 2 vs. Sharks - both games coming at home.

* One player the Flyers will see that they haven't in a while is captain Shea Weber, who missed all three meetings last year. Weber has 12 points (3g-9a) in 14 career meetings against the Flyers all while averaging over 26 minutes of ice time (26:03) against Philly.

* One player the Flyers won't see is forward Paul Byron, who will serve the second of a three-game suspension handed down by the NHL for charging Florida's MacKenzie Weegar in a 5-1 win over the Panthers on Tuesday. Byron has 10 goals and 18 points for Montreal this season.

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