GAME: Montreal Canadiens (23-16-6-2) at Philadelphia Flyers (22-10-10-5).
TIME: Tuesday, 7 p.m. EST.
After a pair of convincing wins over one of the top teams in the NHL, the
Philadelphia Flyers have regained their confidence.
The Flyers look to extend their winning streak to three games, and continue
their dominance of the Montreal Canadiens when the teams meet for the third
time this season.
Philadelphia entered a home-and-home series with the Toronto Maple Leafs
this weekend with an 0-4-1-1 record in its previous six games.
The Flyers, however, regained their first-place form and outscored the Leafs
8-1 to win both contests.
Philadelphia won 4-1 at home on Friday, and 4-0 on Saturday as Robert Esche
made 35 saves for his second shutout of the season and Michal Handzus scored
twice to lead the Flyers.
"Every time Toronto has a breakdown, we put it into the net," Philadelphia
coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We have a lot of confidence right now."
Todd Fedoruk and Jeremy Roenick also scored on Saturday for the Flyers, who
tied Toronto for the most points in the Eastern Conference (59).
"This was a big weekend for our hockey club, especially with the way things
have gone recently," Philadelphia captain Keith Primeau said.
Saturday's victory was costly, however, with defenseman Eric Desjardins
breaking his right forearm in a collision with Roenick. He will have surgery
Tuesday and is expected to miss up to eight weeks.
The team also announced Monday that defenseman Marcus Ragnarsson will be
sidelined up to two weeks with a sprained left rotator cuff.
The losses of Desjardins and Ragnarsson prompted the Flyers to acquire
defenseman Danny Markov from the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday for 22-year-old
winger Justin Williams. Williams, a former first-round pick who has 26 points
this season, was suprised but understanding of the move.
"With a couple of defensemen going down, they felt they needed to make a
move for a defenseman," Williams said. "It's unfortunate, but it happens."
It's uncertain when Markov will join Philadelphia.
The Flyers have won six straight against Montreal since a 3-1 home loss on
April 4, 2002, but the Canadiens come into this contest playing well.
Montreal skated to a 2-2 tie with the New York Rangers at home on Saturday
to extend its unbeaten streak to four games. The Canadiens have just one loss
in their last 10 contests (7-1-2).
Canadiens goalie Jose Theodore made 27 saves Saturday, but the Rangers were
able to tie the game with 5:06 remaining in regulation.
"It was an overall bad game from us," Canadiens captain Saku Koivu said.
"We didn't play well at all, and Theo was sharp and he made some great saves.
They were a better team tonight so we have to be really happy with one point."