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Canadiens hope to end slide against Flyers

by Brian Hunter
FLYERS (5-2-1) at CANADIENS (1-5-2)


Season Series:
First of four meetings. After the Canadiens got on the board first in last season's matchups, the Flyers took the final three. Young forwards Claude Giroux and James van Riemsdyk led all scorers with 3 goals apiece. Sergei Bobrovsky won two of his three starts.

Big Story: The Bell Centre in Montreal can be an intimidating building for opponents, but right now it might be the home team with the bigger concerns about playing there. When the Canadiens aren't playing well there's an immense amount of pressure and scrutiny thrown on their shoulders, and the team is currently off to its worst start in 70 years -- including losing its first five home games (0-3-2) for the first time in franchise history. The longer it takes to pick up that elusive first home win, the more restless the natives figure to get.

Team Scope:

Life without Chris Pronger was something Philadelphia had to adjust to on numerous occasions last season, and the Flyers will be without their captain for the foreseeable future after a scary incident in Monday's 4-2 win over the Maple Leafs. The stick of Toronto forward Mikhail Grabovski struck Pronger in the eye, and he's expected to be out at least 2-3 weeks. On the positive side, Jaromir Jagr scored his first two goals since returning to the NHL and Scott Hartnell also connected for a pair to support a 24-save effort from Bobrovsky.

"He's going to see the eye doctor every day for the next four days," GM Paul Holmgren said after the game in discussing Pronger. "We think after that he'll be … I don't want to say out of danger, but if everything goes OK and the swelling goes down, he should start on an exercise program sometime after that and we're hoping he could rejoin the team in 10 days to two weeks -- skating-wise, not necessarily playing."

Canadiens: One win in eight games has dropped Montreal to the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, not what was expected from a team that battled eventual Stanley Cup champion Boston hard in the Northeast Division last season and in a seven-game first-round playoff series. The Canadiens peppered Panthers rookie Jacob Markstrom with 41 shots, but only Erik Cole's power-play goal at 3:08 of the first period found the back of the net in a 2-1 loss.

"There's urgency, and I think the players understand that, their effort tonight showed that they do," coach Jacques Martin said. "It's not a question of urgency, it's a question of certain mistakes, certain moments that cost us. Our group has been in the League long enough. That's why it’s disappointing to lose games that we have to win, but we just need to correct certain aspects and continue working."

Who's Hot:
Jagr and Hartnell each added an assist Monday and Giroux had a pair of assists, giving the trio 8 points for the night.

Injury Report: Pronger initially suffered from blurred vision in his eye, but Holmgren said his vision did return to normal before he was sent home Monday. Holmgren added the bed rest order is to make sure there's no build-up of blood behind the eye, which could create more issues, and that Pronger will need to wear a visor whenever he returns to action. … Montreal forward Max Pacioretty left Monday's game with an apparent wrist injury that has him sidelined indefinitely. Forward Scott Gomez and defenseman Jaroslav Spacek are also currently sidelined with upper-body injuries.

Stat Pack:
Jagr recorded the 114th two-goal game of his career and Hartnell his 22nd in the Flyers' win over the Maple Leafs. … Cole's goal against the Panthers ended an 0-for-15 drought for the Canadiens' power play.

Puck Drop: This is Cole's first season in Montreal, and while it certainly hasn't gotten off to the start he envisioned, the former Cup champ with Carolina in 2006 is by no means ready to throw in the towel.

"Every team is going to face adversity over the course of the season," Cole said. "This is ours."

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