The Philadelphia Flyers have been hit by the flu bug, and will try to avoid a fifth consecutive setback tonight when they return home to face a Montreal Canadiens club that is - ironically - just getting over its own health problems.
Simon Gagne and Mike York reported experiencing flu symptoms this week and missed practice on Wednesday. Joni Pitkanen is also trying to recover from the flu. He missed Tuesday night's 6-2 loss at Washington but practiced on Wednesday.
The Flyers went 3-5-0 on their season-long eight-game road trip and dropped the last four contests on the swing.
On Tuesday, Philadelphia ended the trek by getting routed by the Washington Capitals, 6-2. Alexander Ovechkin scored two goals and added an assist to lead the Caps.
Kyle Calder scored two goals in the third period for the Flyers, who are last in the NHL with just 26 points.
Philadelphia captain Peter Forsberg missed his fourth straight game with a right groin injury. He is expected to be back for tonight's contest.
Montreal, meanwhile, starts a three-game road trip tonight after beating visiting Atlanta on Tuesday. Michael Ryder scored two goals and added an assist to give the Habs the 4-2 victory over the Thrashers.
Ryder had been among of the sick as a gastro-intestinal virus raged through the team last week. But the entire squad reported healthy this time as Montreal ended a three-game losing streak.
Hopefully the Canadiens can take this one because Flyers are arguably the worst team this year, but they still have good players. Forsberg is suppose to come back tonight, which can hurt the Canadiens. But he's not 100% which kind of good. Hopefully the habs can get the win.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Chris Higgins scored the go-ahead goal midway through the second period and added an assist to help the Montreal Canadiens beat Philadelphia 4-2 on Thursday night, handing the Flyers their fifth straight loss.
Mike Johnson, Alex Kovalev, and Michael Ryder also scored for the Canadiens, who won their second straight. Tomas Plekanec and Andrei Markov each had two assists for Montreal.
Jeff Carter and Joni Pitkanen scored goals for the Flyers, who have won only three home games, the fewest in the NHL.
Higgins broke a 2-2 tie at 8:17 of the second period when he redirected a shot from the point by Francis Bouillon high into the net. Ryder added a power-play goal with a wrist shot from the left circle at 7:10 of the third period.
The teams combined for three goals within a span of 55 seconds early in the first period.
Johnson put the Canadiens ahead at 5:00 when he put in his own rebound.
Carter tied it at 5:25 with a deflection of a shot by Alexei Zhitnik.
Kovalev regained the lead for Montreal 20 seconds later when he scored from the right side after taking a cross-ice pass from Markov.
Pitkanen pulled the Flyers even 1:56 later with his first goal of the season, a one-timer that slipped between the pads of Montreal goaltender David Aebischer, on a power play.
Aebischer had 34 saves. His most spectacular play came late in the second period when he slid midway between the circles to knock a loose puck away from Simon Gagne on a breakaway attempt. He also blanked the Flyers on four power plays in the third period, including 1:43 of a two-man advantage.
I know it's only the Flyers but we need all the points we can get especially that the Sens are climbing spots in the Eastern Conference. Like you've mention Abby was horrible in the first, and he wasnt all spectacular in the second and third either, he looked shaky and lost at some times. Ryder had some many oppurtunities, he could of easily have a hat trick last night. Also Kovalev scored one goal its very good to see. Hopefully he picks it up a little more.