Skip to Main Content

Flyers can clinch playoff berth by beating Canadiens

by Brian Metzer
CANADIENS (29-33-13) at FLYERS (43-23-8)

TV: CBC, RDS (HD), CSN-Philadelphia (HD)

Last 10:
Montreal 4-3-3; Philadelphia 7-2-1

Season Series:
The Flyers lead the season series 2-1-0, with the teams splitting the two games played in Montreal. The Flyers dropped the first game of the series, before taking the next two, including the last meeting in which they won 4-3.

Big Story:
Ilya Bryzgalov has had his finest month of the season in going 9-1-1 in his last 11 starts and his play has powered an impressive run for the Flyers, who have pulled within five points of the Atlantic Division leading New York Rangers and are on the verge of clinching a playoff berth. The Canadiens are mired in one of the worst seasons in their storied history and are looking to play the role of spoiler.

Team Scope:

The Canadiens may not be playing for a playoff position, but they are relishing the role of spoiler and rolled to an impressive 5-1 victory against Ottawa on Friday evening that left the Senators clinging precariously to the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference. Erik Cole led the way with a first-period natural hat-trick and Carey Price stopped 37 of 38 shots to earn the win.

Cole has matched his career high with 30 goals, though he played down the accomplishment after the win against Ottawa.

"I'm not overly concerned with what everyone thinks I'm capable of. I know what I'm capable of," he said. "But when you factor in the frustration of the season, it's tough to look past that."

Though the Flyers are just 2-1-1 in their last four games, they have been playing some of their finest hockey of the season. They earned four of four points in recent games against the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals and seem poised to make a run at the home ice advantage in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Bryzgalov, who had some ups and downs earlier in the season, is finally settling in as the No. 1 man and is playing like the guy the Flyers plucked away from the Phoenix Coyotes over the summer and signed to a long-term deal.

"Not think, just play," Bryzgalov told the Philadelphia Daily News after notching the 2-1 shootout victory over the Washington Capitals on Thursday.

Who's Hot:
Claude Giroux, second in the league's scoring race, has a goal and two assists in his last three games. P.K Subban has four points in his last five games for the Canadiens.

Injury Report: Brian Gionta (biceps surgery), Travis Moen (upper body), Mathieu Darche (dizziness/upper body), Rapheal Diaz (lower body) and Scott Gomez (concussion) are all on injured reserve, while Tomas Kaberle missed Friday evening's game with an upper body injury. … For the Flyers Chris Pronger (post-concussion syndrome), Tom Sestito (groin surgery), James van Riemsdyk (left foot surgery), and Andrej Meszaros (lower back surgery) are all on injured reserve.

Stat Pack:
On eight occasions this season, the Flyers have come from down two goals or more to earn at least a point. They are 6-20-2 when trailing by two or more goals this season. Only Pittsburgh (9) and Nashville (7) have more wins in that situation.

Puck Drop:
Lost in the five-goal attack on Friday was a 37-save performance by Carey Price, who kept the Senators from getting back into the game after the Canadiens grabbed a 4-0 lead.

"He made some real timely saves for us in the second period, and we got some good penalty kills from the guys to keep it at 4-1," Cole said. "If it gets to that 4-2 mark and they start feeling it a little bit, who knows what will happen."

View More