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Canadiens set to host reeling Flyers

by Arpon Basu /

FLYERS (17-21-3) at CANADIENS (26-10-5)


Last 10: Philadelphia 4-5-1; Montreal 6-4-0

Season series: This is the third and final meeting this season. Each team has won once at home, with the Flyers winning the last game 5-3.

Big story: The Flyers playoff hopes are hanging by the thinnest of threads, nine points out of eighth in the Eastern Conference with seven games to play. A loss to the Canadiens on the road, where the Flyers have won just five times in 21 tries this season, would all but ensure Philadelphia’s first exclusion from the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2007.

Team Scope:

Flyers: The Flyers arrive in Montreal having lost four straight games in regulation, scoring just three goals in that span. The power play, which was the NHL’s best just a few weeks ago, has failed to score in six straight games, going 0-for-16.

“It’s frustrating for everybody,” forward Scott Hartnell told following a 1-0 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday. “We’re not scoring goals, and you need goals to win hockey games. It’s frustrating. I don’t know what to say. It’s not like we’re not trying. I don’t know what it is.”

The bright side to the 1-0 loss to Buffalo was the play of goaltender Steve Mason, who made 20 saves to run his totals since being acquired by the Flyers from the Columbus Blue Jackets at the trade deadline to a 1.74 goals-against average and .934 save percentage.

Canadiens: Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, on the other hand, is coming off his toughest start of the season. He allowed three goals on four shots Saturday before being pulled just 10:25 into a 5-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre.

“Obviously, it's not a very pleasant feeling when you know you let your teammates down,” Price told reporters following the game. “That's the hardest thing. Those guys out there put in a full 60 minutes of work and I didn't come through for them. That's the hardest part, but you just have to put it behind you.”

The Canadiens have lost two of their last three games, and while a playoff spot has been clinched and they hold a six-point lead on the Maple Leafs for home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs, they will need to turn things around quickly if they want to maintain their slim one-point lead on the Boston Bruins atop the Northeast Division.

Who's hot: For the Flyers, Claude Giroux scored their last goal, giving him two goals and five assists in his last seven games, while Simon Gagne has two goals and three assists in his past six games. … For the Canadiens, rookie Alex Galchenyuk had a five-game point streak snapped against the Maple Leafs, but fellow rookie Brendan Gallagher has a goal and an assist in his past two games.

Injury report: The Flyers are missing defensemen Braydon Coburn (shoulder), Nicklas Grossmann (concussion), Andrej Meszaros (shoulder) and forward Maxime Talbot (leg). … The Canadiens are missing defensemen Alexei Emelin (knee) and Raphael Diaz (concussion) and forward Colby Armstrong (knee).

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