A loss to rookie Carey Price and the Montreal Canadiens in December started the Philadelphia Flyers' longest losing streak of the season.
With the struggling Flyers one loss away from matching that skid, Price will make his second straight start for the Canadiens as the teams kick off a home-and-home series Saturday night at the Bell Centre.
|Carey Price (left) helped start the Flyers' longest losing streak of the season back in December, now he can help them match it. (AP Photo/Rusty Kennedy)
Montreal (30-19-9) is hoping Price can provide a spark in place of the struggling Cristobal Huet, who's allowed 14 goals in his last four starts. Price, the fifth overall pick in the 2005 draft, is coming off one of the best performances of his brief career, making 35 saves in a 2-1 overtime win over Florida on Wednesday.
On Dec. 13, Price made 35 saves in a 4-1 win over Philadelphia (30-22-5). That was the first of a season-high six straight losses for the Flyers. Philadelphia then went on a 14-3-1 run and spent some time atop the Atlantic Division before its latest funk.
"I think we should all be concerned," said Philadelphia coach John Stevens, whose team is sixth in the Eastern Conference. "If we don't win hockey games, we're not going anywhere."
Montreal, meanwhile, trails East-leading Ottawa by three points. The Canadiens also will be trying to win their fifth straight against the Flyers since a 4-2 loss on Nov. 25, 2006.
"Every game is different. I guess we'll see how it goes on Saturday," said Price, whose win against the Panthers was his first since Montreal's 4-1 victory over Toronto on Dec. 15. "At this point in the season, the entire team needs to be playing well, defensemen, forwards and of course, the goalies."
The Canadiens snapped a three-game losing streak Wednesday, with Alexei Kovalev scoring a power-play goal 1:43 into overtime. Montreal had allowed 21 goals in its previous five games.
|Martin Biron has struggled in net lately, losing his last four starts. (AP Photo/Rusty Kennedy)
"We haven't been playing as well as we'd like to," Price said. "It was definitely a step in the right direction."
The Flyers, meanwhile, have allowed at least four goals or more in four of five games during their losing streak.
Philadelphia's Martin Biron has lost his last four starts, posting a 3.81 GAA in that span. He's lost two straight starts against the Canadiens, allowing a total of nine goals.
But two turnovers by Philadelphia defensemen on Thursday led to Tampa Bay goals in a 5-3 loss. It was the first time the Flyers allowed at least five goals since a 7-3 loss to New Jersey on Jan. 22.
"We've done good things in bits and parts of the games, but we haven't done it for a whole game for five games," Philadelphia captain Jason Smith said. "That's why we're in the situation we're in."
The Flyers might get two defensemen back Saturday after Derian Hatcher and Braydon Coburn both practiced Friday. Hatcher sat out the loss to the Lightning with fluid in his knee, while Coburn has missed three straight games while recovering from a ruptured artery in his buttocks.
Montreal and Philadelphia will meet for the final time in the regular season on Sunday at the Wachovia Center.