The Canadiens (8-4-1) are back home Saturday night to host the Flyers (6-8-1) after a pair of post-regulation wins in Florida. The game starts at 7:00 and airs on CBC and RDS.
This is the first of three games between the Habs and Flyers this season. Last season the Habs managed just one win in four games against Philly, a 5-1 victory in their first meeting of the season. Montreal’s 4-3 loss on December 15 last season was Jacques Martin’s last game as head coach of the Habs, he was relieved of his duties prior to their next match.
What to Watch:
The Canadiens escaped Florida with a pair of wins and four much needed points. Carey Price came up big for the Habs in both games, with stops on Viktor Hedman, Martin St Louis and Steven Stamkos in a shootout against Tampa Bay and then following up those heroics with a 26 save shut out against the Panthers two nights later. Price now has a league leading 8 wins on the season.
Philly’s Claude Giroux has not been the dominant force he was last season when he registered 28 goals and 93 points in 77 games. This season Giroux has just 10 points in 15 games, but his does have three assists in his last two games. Sophomore Matt Read is having a good start to the season, he leads the Flyers with 6 goals.
What’s at Stake:
With the two wins in Florida the Canadiens improved to 6-0-0 against teams outside their division. They’ll put that perfect record on the line again Saturday. The Flyers have been mediocre so far this season and downright awful on the road. They are 2-7-0 outside the Wells Fargo Center so the Canadiens should be looking to capitalize.
The Canadiens are still without Petteri Nokelainen (back) who has yet to play this season.
The Flyers have been hit hard by the injury bug, Scott Hartnell (foot), Andrej Meszaros (shoulder), Jordan Shelley (hip), and back-up goalie Michael Leighton (finger) are all out. Kimmo Timonen (lower body) could also miss Saturday’s game.
The Flyers have not missed a postseason since 2006-2007 and have made the playoffs every other year going back to 1994-1995, but at 6-8-1 through 15 games they are in serious jeopardy of missing out again this year.
The last two times these teams met in the playoffs, Philly skated away victorious with a two 4-1 series wins. The Flyers put an end to Montreal’s Cinderella run in 2010, finding a way to solve goalie Jaroslav Halak after the Capitals and Penguins failed to.
Be sure to tune into the Montreal Hockey Talk Pregame Show an hour before the puck drop and the Post Game Show 5 minutes after the final siren.