FLYERS (31-25-3) at CANADIENS (29-27-6)
Philadelphia 6-4-0; Montreal 5-4-1
Third of four meetings this season, and the second in as many nights. Each team has won once already on home ice, with the Flyers claiming a 3-2 win Friday and the Canadiens picking up a 3-1 victory back on Dec. 7.
Once the final horn sounds Saturday, the Olympic break begins for both teams. Nobody seemed to be looking too far ahead Friday, as the Flyers built a three-goal lead only to see the Canadiens rally for a pair on the third. The game ended with Montreal unable to get the tying goal off a 6-on-4 advantage and a huge scrum involving all 10 skaters and Philadelphia goalie Michael Leighton
Philadelphia has now won three in a row, all by 3-2 scores, though Friday's victory transpired much differently than the previous two over New Jersey. In both games against the Devils, the Flyers fell behind by a pair of goals before rallying for three straight. Against the Canadiens, they built a 3-0 lead on a pair of goals by Jeff Carter and one from Matt Carle
, then held on behind Leighton and his 23-save effort.
"You want to go into the break feeling good about yourselves, and playing your best hockey," defenseman Chris Pronger
said. "We were able to gut it out tonight."
Players have been dropping like flies of late, with Montreal defenseman Andrei Markov
the latest to miss a game. An upper-body injury sidelined him on Friday. Fellow blueliner Jaroslav Spacek
also may have been injured by a hit late in the game from Darroll Powe, who received a five-minute major and game misconduct for boarding. The Canadiens showed spunk, getting goals 56 seconds apart from Glen Metropolit and Dominic Moore to make the game close in the third. Moore scored in his debut with the team after being acquired from the Panthers.
"We came back in the third, but it was one of those games where we just ran out of time," Moore said.
Carter has four goals in Philadelphia's last three games, giving him a team-leading 26 for the season. Leighton has once again become the go-to guy in net with Ray Emery on the shelf. He has allowed two goals or less in five consecutive starts, posting a .933 save percentage.
Metropolit has 13 goals this season, one off his career high. He has goals in consecutive games and three in his last five.
Philadelphia remains without Emery (hip) and defensemen Ryan Parent (back) and Danny Syvret (shoulder).
In addition to Markov, those sidelined for Montreal include forwards Andrei Kostitsyn
(knee), Mike Cammalleri
(MCL) and Benoit Pouliot (upper body) and defensemen Paul Mara (upper body) and Marc-Andre Bergeron (knee).
After picking up just two minor penalties through the first 59 minutes Friday, the Flyers accumulated 27 penalty minutes late, 15 to Powe and 12 to Kimmo Timonen
for roughing and a misconduct. ... Defenseman PK Subban made his NHL debut for the Canadiens, playing over 18 minutes, taking three shots and posting an assist, a plus-1 rating and a minor penalty for tripping.
Philadelphia passed Montreal into sixth place in the Eastern Conference standings by a point with the win Friday. The Canadiens can leap right back over the Flyers with a regulation victory Saturday.