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Canadiens-Flyers Preview @NHLdotcom

The Montreal Canadiens were the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed in last season's Stanley Cup playoffs, making them heavy favorites when they faced off with the Philadelphia Flyers in the second round.

Instead, it was the Flyers who made quick work of the Canadiens.

The teams will meet Monday for the first time since Philadelphia took four straight from Montreal last spring, prematurely ending the Stanley Cup hopes of the East's top seed.

The Canadiens (1-0-1) beat the Flyers in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series, but Philadelphia won the next four to eliminate Montreal and reach its first conference final since 2004.

"It's OK to be disappointed about how our season ended, but we can't forget how much we improved (in 2007-08) as a team," right wing Alex Kovalev told the Canadiens' official Web site, citing the team's jump from fourth place in 2006-07 to the top of the East.

Montreal didn't look much like an improved team in its season opener, a 2-1 shootout loss at Buffalo on Friday, but it looked more like the team that won the Northeast Division the next night against the rival Maple Leafs. The Canadiens scored the first five goals at Air Canada Centre on Saturday - including two power-play goals from Sergei Kostitsyn - on their way to a 6-1 rout of Toronto.

Five different players scored, including offseason addition Alex Tanguay. Acquired during the June entry draft from Calgary, Tanguay was on the ice for 19 scoreless minutes against Buffalo, but had a goal and three assists in just over 15 minutes on Saturday.

"A lot of things (were) said when we made the trade for him," Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau said. "I think he didn't really enjoy the year last year and wanted to kind of have a rebound year. He knew he was coming to a good team."

The Flyers (0-1-0) were ousted in five games in the conference finals by Pittsburgh last season, including a 6-0 loss in Game 5, and for the first period of their first meaningful game since, they appeared to be in the same fog they found themselves in during that contest.

Philadelphia gave up four first-period goals to the New York Rangers on Saturday, and though it cut the led to one early in the third, couldn't complete the comeback, losing 4-3.

"I certainly liked the effort to get back," Flyers coach John Stevens said. "It just seemed like we were a step behind."

Goaltender Martin Biron was in net for Philadelphia throughout its playoff run, and posted a 2.79 goals-against average in the series against Montreal. Biron was pulled on Saturday after 16 minutes, and backup Antero Niittymaki shut the Rangers down the rest of the way.

Biron, however, should be back in net Monday, as he's shined in his regular-season career against Montreal, going 12-7-0 with a 2.19 GAA. Niittymaki is 1-7-0 with a 3.30 GAA.

Though they scored 20 goals against the Canadiens in the playoffs, the Flyers scored only six in going winless in four games against Montreal in the regular season. With two goals, Mike Richards was the only Flyer to score more than once in the four losses.

Canadiens goaltender Carey Price was 3-0-0 with a 1.34 GAA against the Flyers during the season before going 1-3 with a 4.13 GAA in the playoff series.

Montreal is 6-0-1 in its last seven regular-season games in Philadelphia.

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