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Bad bounce leads to Flyers' loss

by Brian Compton
It was a game that Scottie Upshall would rather soon forget.
But it won't be easy.
The Philadelphia Flyers' forward unintentionally redirected Mike Komisarek's shot into his own net, resulting in one of four goals by the Montreal Canadiens in the third period of Monday night's 5-3 win at the Wachovia Center.
"For some reason, those tips never seem to go in the other net," Upshall said. “They go into yours."
It was just the lucky bounce that eluded the Canadiens in the second round of the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs, when they were ousted by Philadelphia. On this night, though, the Habs notched an ounce of revenge.
It was a gritty win for Montreal, which erased a 2-1 deficit by scoring three straight goals in the third period. Robert Lang's goal at 13:40 gave the Habs a two-goal cushion, which lasted all of 64 seconds. Simon Gagne cut the lead to 4-3 with a power play goal, but Steve Begin iced the victory for the Canadiens with an empty-net tally with 35 seconds to play.
"Going into the third period being down to the team that knocked us out last year, and finding a way to win, that definitely says a lot about the guys on the team and should give us more confidence," Komisarek said.
After a scoreless first period, it was the Canadiens who opened the scoring when Andrei Kostitsyn notched his first goal of the season just 54 ticks into the second period. After gaining control of the puck in the neutral zone, Kostitsyn took a pass from Andrei Markov and ripped a wrist shot past Martin Biron.
But the lead didn't last very long, as the Flyers needed less than four minutes to take the lead themselves. Jeff Carter got things going at 2:46, when he beat Carey Price at even strength. Mike Richards put Philadelphia ahead at 4:15, as the Flyers' captain capitalized on a holding penalty to Robert Lang for his second goal of the season.
"A lot of people are talking about Montreal as the ‘Pride of the East,' and I thought for 40 minutes we really showed that we could be a good team against a good team," Flyers coach John Stevens said. "That is the step we want to take."
But Philadelphia stumbled while going up the steps. Roman Hamrlik tied the game just 1:18 into the third, as he took a pass from Alexei Kovalev and beat Biron with a shot from the slot to make it 2-2. Komisarek tied the game less than a minute later on the lucky bounce off Upshall's stick.
Things continued to snowball for the Flyers, as Lang made it a two-goal game with just 6:20 remaining.
"There’s no excuse when you give up three goals in the third period and give a team a chance to get back in like that,” Biron said. “It should never happen."
Biron improved off Saturday's performance, when he was pulled in the first period against the New York Rangers. Still, the Flyers remain winless and are already 10 points behind the first-place Rangers in the Atlantic Division.
"The first game is kind of a write-off for me,” Stevens said. “I thought he was much better tonight. He looked like his old self, made a couple of big saves."
Price, meanwhile, continued his solid play against Philadelphia in the regular season. The Habs' No. 1 netminder went 3-0 with a 1.34 goals-against average against the Flyers in 2007-08 before struggling mightily in the playoffs, when he won once in four decisions with a 4.13 GAA.
"It’s in the back of your mind that it’s still the team that put us out last year and you’re going to have a little bit of a grudge, but it’s a new year," Price said.
Material from wire services was used in this report.

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