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Flyers need quick recovery against Canadiens

by Adam Kimelman

FLYERS (6-8-1) at CANADIENS (8-4-1)


Last 10: Philadelphia 4-5-1; Montreal 6-3-1

Season series: This is the first of three games. The Flyers won three of four between the teams last season.

Big story: The Philadelphia Flyers have to get over a tough loss to the New Jersey Devils on Friday pretty quickly -- they face a Montreal Canadiens team that's won two straight.

Team scope:

Flyers: The struggling offense could soon get a boost: Scott Hartnell, out since breaking his foot Jan. 22, skated Friday for the first time since the injury.

Hartnell led the team last season with 37 goals and the Flyers were second in the League at 3.17 goals per game; this season, with Hartnell playing three games, they're 21st at 2.47 goals per game.

The biggest beneficiary of Hartnell's return could be captain Claude Giroux. Playing on the same line last season, Giroux was third in the League with 93 points. This season, Giroux has struggled with 10 points in 15 games, and one goal in his past 13.

Canadiens: If you want to know what a coach really thinks of a player, all you really have to do is check his ice time. So seeing rookie forward Alex Galchenyuk on the ice in a scoreless game, in overtime, tells you how much trust Canadiens coach Michel Therrien has in the 19-year-old.

Galchenyuk made Therrien look smart Thursday against the Florida Panthers, setting up Rene Bourque for the winning goal at 2:19 of overtime.

"There's a reason why he's playing with us and he's only 19 years old," Bourque told the Montreal Gazette. "He's very skilled."

Therrien said giving Galchenyuk, the third pick of the 2012 NHL Draft, important minutes is another step in his development.

"That's part of the learning process," Therrien told the Montreal Gazette when asked about having confidence in the youngster in overtime. "He showed a great second effort to stay with the puck going up against a very good defenseman [Dmitry Kulikov]."

Who's hot: Bourque's game-winning goal Thursday was his fourth in 13 games with the Canadiens this season, one fewer than he scored in 38 games with them last season.

Injury report: Besides Hartnell, the Flyers are missing forward Jody Shelley (hip), defenseman Andrej Meszaros (shoulder) and goalie Michael Leighton (finger). Defenseman Kimmo Timonen (lower body) is questionable after sitting out the third period of Friday's game. … Canadiens forward Petteri Nokelainen (lower body) is out.

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