CANADIENS (29-26-6) AT FLYERS (30-25-3)
Montreal 6-3-1; Philadelphia 6-4-0
This is the second of four meetings and the first half of a home-and-home series which will be completed on Saturday night. The Canadiens won their first matchup, 3-1, in Montreal on Dec. 7. All three of their goal scorers from that night, Andrei Kostitsyn
, Mike Cammalleri
and Marc-Andre Bergeron, are currently on injured reserve.
The Canadiens did what no other team has been able to accomplish in the past few weeks and defeated the Capitals, ending their 14-game win streak. With an injury-depleted squad and fresh faces up from the minors, few believed the Habs could overcome Alex Ovechkin and his teammates, even more so after Montreal let a 5-2 second-period lead slip away in the third. But Sergei Kostitsyn sent a brilliant pass to Tomas Plekanec
, which he knocked past former Hab goalie Jose Theodore for the win. The two points kept the Canadiens in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of the Flyers.
"To beat this hockey club is great for us," Plekanec said. "We needed two points in the standings and we got them."
New Montreal GM Pierre Gauthier made his first big move on Thursday to bolster the hurting Habs and acquired center Dominic Moore from the Panthers for a second-round pick in the 2011 Entry Draft. Moore has recorded 17 points in 48 games this season, and the Canadiens will be his seventh team in the last seven years. Defenseman P.K. Subban
was also called up from the Hamilton Bulldogs on Thursday. If the rookie dresses, it will be his first NHL game. In 52 games with Hamilton, he has 11 goals and 28 assists.
The Flyers defeated the Devils by a 3-2 score on both Monday and Wednesday, and in both games they rallied from a two-goal deficit for the win. On Wednesday, it took an extra period to seal the deal, where Simon Gagne blasted one past Martin Brodeur 3:27 into overtime. Jeff Carter and Aaron Asham also scored for Philadelphia.
"Gags had a heck of a shift and scored a really big goal," coach Peter Laviolette said. "It was a dominating shift. He was on the puck, dug it up again, made moves and dug it up again and made moves and finally got to a spot where he could let go and he let it fly."
Plekanec has four goals and four assists in his last six games for the Canadiens. Scott Gomez
had two goals and four assists in his last four games. … Carter has goals in consecutive games for the Flyers. Goalie Michael Leighton
has allowed two goals or less in each of his last four starts.
Montreal defenseman Josh Gorges
(head) is day-to-day. In addition to Bergeron (knee), Kostitsyn (knee) and Cammalleri (MCL), defenseman Paul Mara (upper body) and forward Benoit Pouliot (upper body) are on injured reserve.
Philadelphia goalie Ray Emery will not return after the Olympic break due to a hip injury. Defensemen Ryan Parent (back) and Danny Syvret (shoulder) are on injured reserve.
In the last Canadiens-Flyers game, each team set a franchise record for the fewest combined shots in a game with 28.
"I think it is a good test to show what we are made of, where this team has come from and where this team needs to get to. We certainly don't want to make it a habit of getting down 2-0 in games and hopefully, that will be the last. Like I said, you don't do this against the New Jersey Devils too often." -- Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger