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Canadiens hit break with visit to League-best Flyers

by Mike G. Morreale
CANADIENS (27-17-5) at FLYERS (32-12-5)

TV --

Last 10 -- Canadiens 6-1-3; Flyers 8-2-0

Season series -- The teams are meeting for the fourth and final time this season. The Flyers have won the last two matchups, most recently Dec. 15, when the line of James van Riemsdyk, Jeff Carter and Nikolay Zherdev combined for seven points in a 5-3 victory at the Bell Centre. Van Riemsdyk scored 2 goals, Carter had a goal and 2 assists, and Zherdev had a goal and an assist.

Big story -- Philadelphia improved to a League-leading 69 points with Sunday's victory against Chicago, and is 9-2-0 in its last 11 games. Despite the absence of van Riemsdyk, who suffered a lower-body injury in Philadelphia's loss to New Jersey on Saturday, the Flyers' depth prevailed. Zherdev was promoted to Carter's line with Claude Giroux and the trio combined for 3 goals and 9 points. Daniel Carcillo, a healthy scratch the last six games, replaced van Riemsdyk on Mike Richards' line with Andreas Nodl.

"It seemed like they had five guys in the neutral zone," Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa told the media following Sunday's game. "They were waiting for our mistakes and it was hard to get the puck by them."

Team Scope:

Canadiens --
Montreal, 3-0-2 in its last five games, dropped a 4-3 shootout decision against Anaheim on Saturday. The loss still gave the Canadiens six of a possible eight points in a week when they had two sets of back-to-back games. The Canadiens entered the week sixth in the Eastern Conference, seven points ahead of the ninth-place Carolina Hurricanes.

Flyers -- Carter scored twice and goalie Sergei Bobrovsky made 30 saves to give the Flyers a 4-1 win against the Blackhawks at the United Center on Sunday. The triumph came less than 24 hours after Philadelphia dropped a 3-1 decision to the New Jersey Devils at Wells Fargo Center. Zherdev and Scott Hartnell added goals, and Giroux had 4 assists in the only regular-season rematch of last year's Stanley Cup Final, won by Chicago in six games. Bobrovsky, who has a 1.80 goals-against average and .941 save percentage in his last five games, lost a bid for his first NHL shutout at 6:49 of the third period when Marian Hossa scored on a penalty shot.

Who's hot -- Giroux, who will attend his first NHL All-Star Game this weekend, is riding a career-high six-game point-scoring streak. Giroux, who also set single-game career highs for assists (4), points (4) and plus/minus rating (plus-4) during the victory against Chicago, has 2 goals and 10 points during his scoring streak.

Injury report -- The Canadiens are without forward Michael Cammalleri and center Jeff Halpern with what the team is calling upper-body injuries. No return date for either is listed, but various media reports claim Cammalleri will miss about a month, while Halpern is day-to-day. Defensemen Andrei Markov (knee) and Josh Gorges (knee) are out the remainder of the season. … For the Flyers, van Riemsdyk (lower-body) is day-to-day.

Stat pack -- Flyers defenseman Matt Carle has scored every one of his 24 points this season at even strength and leads all NHL defensemen in even-strength points.

Puck drop -- Believe it or not, the Flyers and Toronto Maple Leafs have something in common. They remain the only two teams in the League without a shutout. Bobrovsky lost his chance on a penalty shot from Hossa with 13:11 left to play Sunday. Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn gloved a puck in the crease, which gave Hossa his opportunity.
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