The Philadelphia Flyers haven’t questioned their ability to be
the best team in the NHL.
After beating their biggest rival to earn the best record in the
league, the Flyers won’t have much time to savor the victory.
Philadelphia travels to the Bell Centre on Wednesday night to
face the Montreal Canadiens, who look to avoid a season-high third
The Flyers (20-7-5) snapped Pittsburgh’s 12-game winning streak
with a 3-2 victory Tuesday. Philadelphia, which has a league-best
45 points, moved past the Penguins atop the Atlantic Division.
Scott Hartnell’s power-play goal 9:54 into the third period was
only his second tally in 15 games, but helped Philadelphia improve
to 5-0-1 in its last six.
“It’s the battle of Pennsylvania,” Hartnell said. “It was a big
Now, the Flyers hope to avoid a letdown in Montreal, where
they’ve lost six of their last eight, while looking to improve
their 4-1-2 record in the second game of back-to-backs this
Claude Giroux and Nikolay Zherdev also scored against the
Penguins and Brian Boucher, who beat Montreal 3-2 on Nov. 22, made
21 saves for his fifth victory in six starts.
“We talk about trying to get the top spot, trying to be the best
in the league, and tonight was one of those opportunities where we
could do it ourselves,” coach Peter Laviolette told the NHL’s
official website. “It puts you where you want to be, but you get to
enjoy it for about three minutes and then move on and start
thinking about Montreal. That’s going to be a tough game.”
It’ll be especially tough if the Canadiens continue their solid
play against the Flyers.
Montreal (18-10-2) beat Philadelphia 3-0 on Nov. 16, then scored
the first two goals before falling in the teams’ most recent
meeting. The victory was one of four shutouts for Carey Price, who
was rested in the Canadiens’ 3-1 loss Saturday against Toronto.
Price is 5-1-1 with a 1.71 goals-against average in his last
seven and should expect to start against the Flyers. He’s 6-2-0
with a 1.81 GAA against Philadelphia in his career.
Montreal has lost two straight after going 4-0-1 in its previous
five. Mike Cammalleri, who scored in the win against the Flyers,
recorded his team-leading 11th goal and his third in the last four
The Canadiens hope a three-day rest between games will provide
an energy boost. Coach Jacques Martin said his team looked tired in
giving up two first-period goals to the Maple Leafs.
“It was kind of a slow start, they jumped on us,” Martin said.
“We didn’t win enough individual battles.”
Scott Gomez, who has missed the past two games with a lower-body
injury, said after practice Tuesday his decision to play against
Philadelphia hinges on the pre-game skate.
“I feel a lot better,” Gomez told the Canadiens’ official
website. “We’ll try the pre-game (Wednesday) and we’ll see what
we’ve got. It’s good to get back out there with the guys and see
how it reacts.”
After scoring 12 goals with a team-high 47 assists last season,
Gomez is struggling in 2010-11. He has four goals and five assists
in 28 games.