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At the Rink: Canadiens at Flyers

by Adam Kimelman

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers are in the same place they were last season, but the feeling among the players is vastly different.

Last season the Flyers started 0-2-0, then after falling to 0-3-0 coach Peter Laviolette was fired. Players were confused and frustrated and it showed on the ice.

"I think last year at this time after two games it was a huge panic in here," captain Claude Giroux said. "Guys were trying to figure out what was going on, our coach got fired. It was a big panic."

While they again are 0-2-0, the players are more confident a turnaround could start as soon as their game Saturday against the visiting Montreal Canadiens (7 p.m. ET, TVA, CITY).

"I think we can learn from last year," Giroux said. "Last year after a few games we hit the panic button and tried to change everything. Finally we came back to playing our game, having fun and come to the rink and enjoy being here. When we did that we started winning games. We're going to start with that [Saturday]."

They've been close their first two games; they lost 2-1 to the Boston Bruins on Oct. 8 on a Chris Kelly goal with 1:51 left in regulation, and one night later they came back from 3-0 down against the New Jersey Devils to tie the game 3-3 going into the third but lost 6-4.

"We're confident in ourselves," said forward Wayne Simmonds, who leads the Flyers with two goals. "It's been the little things that have been deciding the games. It's not our work ethic or effort or anything like that. It's the small details of the game that gets you the wins. The last two games we've gone into the third period even, we were 1-1 against Boston and 3-3 against Jersey the other night. We just have to be conscious of everything that's going on, whether it's a big play or a small play."

While the Flyers look for their first win, the Canadiens look to keep their 2-0-0 start rolling. Montreal has a chance to open a season 3-0-0 for the first time since 2005-06.

The way they've won games, however, hasn't been ideal. They needed a goal from Tomas Plekanec in the final seconds of the third period to win in regulation against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday. They arrived in Washington at 3 a.m. Thursday morning and came back that evening for a 2-1 shootout win against the Washington Capitals that saw Plekanec tie the game midway through the third period.

"The third period has been our best period," forward Brendan Gallagher said. "With the game on the line guys have been picking up their intensity and picking up their play. It's showing and we're getting rewarded for it on the scoreboard."

The comebacks have been entertaining, but it's not the best recipe for long-term success.

"We have confidence in our group," defenseman P.K. Subban said, "but we can't rely on late comebacks and lucky bounces and so on. We'll take them when we get them because sometimes during the season you're praying for a bounce. We have to create our own luck by working hard and playing the right way."

Here are the lineups the Canadiens and Flyers likely will use Saturday:


Max Pacioretty - David Desharnais - Brendan Gallagher

Jiri Sekac - Tomas Plekanec - Alex Galchenyuk

Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau - Lars Eller - Rene Bourque

Brandon Prust - Manny Malhotra - Travis Moen

Jarred Tinordi - P.K. Subban

Andrei Markov - Tom Gilbert

Nathan Beaulieu - Mike Weaver

Carey Price

Dustin Tokarski

Scratched: Dale Weise, Michael Bournival

Injured: Alexei Emelin (upper body)


Michael Raffl - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek

Brayden Schenn - Vincent Lecavalier - Wayne Simmonds

Matt Read - Sean Couturier - R.J. Umberger

Zac Rinaldo - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Jason Akeson

Nicklas Grossmann - Mark Streit

Nick Schultz - Andrew MacDonald

Michael Del Zotto - Luke Schenn

Ray Emery

Steve Mason

Scratched: Blair Jones

Injured: Kimmo Timonen (blood clots), Braydon Coburn (lower body), Ryan White (chest)

Status report: The Flyers will start with the lines they ended the game against New Jersey with, including Raffl on the top line in place of Schenn. "I thought that it seemed like there was more chemistry, seemed like there was more jump with each line," coach Craig Berube said. … Mason is 3-0-0 lifetime against the Canadiens, but with the Flyers playing their third game in four nights, Emery will get his first start of the season. In 16 career games against Montreal he's 9-7-0 with a 2.88 goals-against average and .906 save percentage. … With Emelin day-to-day with an upper-body injury, Tinordi will make his season debut. The 6-foot-6, 227-pound defenseman said he'll keep things simple. "I'm going to play my game," he said. "I want to be physical, I want to be a presence on the ice, do good on the penalty kill." Subban said he was looking forward to having Tinordi as a partner. "One thing that's for sure is I know that anybody touches the goalie or, he's going to address it," Subban said. … Price will be back in goal for the Canadiens. In 18 career games against Philadelphia he is 8-9-0 with a 2.87 GAA, .916 save percentage and two shutouts.

Who's hot: Simmonds scored two goals in a 56-second span in the final minute of the second period Thursday against the Devils. He led the Flyers last season with 29 goals. … Plekanec is tied for the NHL lead with three goals.


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