Flyers, Habs meet for first time since playoffs
By Brian Compton
FLYERS (12-4-2) at CANADIENS (11-5-1)
VERSUS, RDS, TSN-HABS.
Philadelphia 9-0-1; Montreal 7-3-0.
This is the first of four meetings between the teams. They split the four-game season series in 2009-10.
Tuesday marks the first meeting between the Flyers and Canadiens since Philadelphia disposed of Montreal in five games at the 2010 Eastern Conference Finals. Both teams will have a different look between the pipes, as Sergei Bobrovsky has claimed the No. 1 job for the Flyers, while the Habs dealt Jaroslav Halak to St. Louis last summer and gave the keys to Carey Price.
Philadelphia is on cruise control, as it earned its third straight win and ninth in its last 10 games Monday night in a 5-1 victory against the Ottawa Senators at the Wells Fargo Center. Flyers captain Mike Richards scored twice for the second straight game, while Bobrovsky continued his remarkable rookie season with a 28-save performance.
"We are starting to get a lot of the bounces. In the beginning of the year, there was a lot of posts and pucks just seemed to be slipping off sticks," said Richards, who had just one goal in his first 12 games. "You are going to have that in a year, where you can't seem to find a balance then you have stretches where pucks just end up on the sticks so that's a big part in it."
Montreal heads into Tuesday's action in search of its fourth consecutive win. The Canadiens crushed the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night in a 7-2 victory at the Bell Centre in the first of a four-game homestand. Tomas Plekanec had a goal and three assists for the Habs.
"It was a very good week for us," Plekanec said. "It's great. We beat some very good teams lately and hopefully we can stay on track."
Richards has five goals in his last three games for the Flyers, who have scored 18 times during that span. Richards also has at least a point in nine of his last 10 games. … Plekanec has a four-game point streak for the Habs (1 goal, 6 assists) and leads the team with 18 points.
Michael Leighton (back), Daniel Carcillo (MCL), Matt Walker (hip) and Ian Laperriere (post-concussion syndrome) are all out for Philadelphia. … Montreal will be without defenseman Andrei Markov, who injured his right knee on Saturday after colliding with Eric Staal. It is unknown how long Markov will be out.
Richards earned his 300th career point on Claude Giroux's power-play goal Monday night. It was Giroux's team-leading 10th goal of the season. … Price has a 2.17 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage while posting a 10-5-1 record. The Canadiens rank fourth in the NHL in goals-against average at 2.10.
"Confidence is a big thing, it seems we're building chemistry, we're feeling better and better with each other. It's been a lot of fun, I know it's not going to last the whole season, but we'll try to take advantage of it while it's going and while guys are feeling hot with their stick." -- Flyers forward Danny Briere