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Flyers look to gain ground as they face Canadiens

by Sean Farrell

FLYERS (23-22-8) at CANADIENS (34-15-3)


MONTREAL -- The Philadelphia Flyers' recent hot streak has revived their hopes of making the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but they've still got a lot of ground to make up as they get ready to face the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre on Tuesday.

Philadelphia (23-22-8) is 5-0-1 in its past six games, including a 3-1 win at the Washington Capitals on Sunday. The Flyers are in fifth place in the Metropolitan Division with 54 points, nine points behind the Boston Bruins for the second wild-card spot.

"We have big faith in our dressing room that we can make this push," Philadelphia right wing Wayne Simmonds said after the morning skate. "We didn't start off the season the way we wanted to. We've been flirting with .500 the whole year but we've been playing our best hockey lately and that's what you want. So we've just got to continue to play good hockey and hopefully the cards fall our way and we win our hockey games."

The Flyers will have their final opportunity to claim a standings point against Montreal, which won the previous two games.

"We're competing a lot harder. We're competing on every little play," Simmonds said. "We know this is our last chance. I think we've got to win probably 75 to 80 percent of our games going down the stretch. It's a long hill to climb but we've come back from a lot before and we think we can do it again."

Goalie Ray Emery will start for the Flyers; starting goaltender Steve Mason will be out two to three weeks because of a lower-body injury.

Flyers coach Craig Berube said creating second chances is going to be a key in their approach to facing Canadiens goalie Carey Price, who has won 15 of his past 19 starts.

"We know we have to put a lot of pucks on net but we need to shoot smart," Berube said. "Shooting for rebounds will be very important tonight."

Philadelphia has one power-play goal in its past three games but remains one of the top teams in the NHL with the man-advantage. The Flyers have scored 41 goals in 173 power-play opportunities and rank third in the League with a 23.7-percent success rate.

Montreal has taken one minor penalty in its past two games, including none in a 3-1 win at the Boston Bruins on Sunday.

"It's something that I think we're just aware of, that you can't win if you're an undisciplined team, especially us," Canadiens right wing Brendan Gallagher said. "We're a team that likes to roll four lines and get everyone involved, and when you're taking too many penalties it takes a lot of the guys out of the game. So for us to stay disciplined has been big for us. It helps us kind of keep the push on and gain momentum and we've been able to do that of late and hopefully it continues."

Montreal center David Desharnais was named the NHL Third Star of the Week on Monday. Desharnais has one goal and six assists in his past four games.

Here are the projected lineups:


Brayden Schenn - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek

Matt Read - Sean Couturier - Wayne Simmonds

R.J. Umberger - Scott Laughton - Ryan White

Chris VandeVelde - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Vincent Lecavalier

Nick Schultz - Mark Streit

Andrew MacDonald - Nicklas Grossman

Michael Del Zotto - Luke Schenn

Ray Emery

Anthony Stolarz

Scratched: Carlo Colaiacovo

Suspended: Zac Rinaldo

Injured: Braydon Coburn (lower body), Steve Mason (lower body), Michael Raffl (illness)


Max Pacioretty - David Desharnais - Dale Weise

Alex Galchenyuk - Tomas Plekanec - Brendan Gallagher

Brandon Prust - Lars Eller - Jiri Sekac

Michael Bournival - Jacob De La Rose - Christian Thomas

Andrei Markov - P.K. Subban

Nathan Beaulieu - Sergei Gonchar

Alexei Emelin - Tom Gilbert

Carey Price

Dustin Tokarski

Scratched: Manny Malhotra, Mike Weaver

Injured: PA Parenteau (concussion)

Status report: Stolarz, 21, took part in the morning skate and will back up Emery. The 6-foot-6 goalie was recalled Monday from Lehigh Valley of the American Hockey League. Berube said he had not seen Stolarz play much but will use him if necessary. "He's a big guy and he's got good ability in net," Berube said. "He's a first-year kid in the League so they always have a lot of things to learn, for sure, coming out of junior." … Parenteau had light contact during drills as he skated alone before his teammates.

Who's hot: Simmonds has three goals and two assists in his past five games. … Weise has three goals and two assists in his past three games.

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