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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, April 3rd (All times Eastern)
Montreal Canadiens (23-7-5) at Philadelphia Flyers (15-17-3), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Philadelphia Flyers look to pick up a well-timed first three-game winning streak of the season on Wednesday night as they close out their homestand against the first-place Montreal Canadiens.
The Flyers snapped an 0-2-2 skid with victories over Boston and Washington this past weekend, winning two straight for the fifth time this season and for the first time since Feb. 27-March 2.
It didn't look like Philadelphia would escape its battle against Washington on Sunday with two points as it allowed power-play goals 26 seconds apart just before the midway point of the third period. However, Claude Giroux scored a power-play goal with 7:12 left in the third and Kimmo Timonen fired home the tying goal with 9.5 seconds to play in regulation.
Timonen then logged his third assist of the game when he set up Ruslan Fedotenko's overtime winner for a much-needed 5-4 win.
The victory gave the Flyers a 2-1-1 record on their five-game homestand and kept them within reach of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They are six points behind the New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils for the final two postseason positions with games in hand on both clubs.
"It's important, every win, every point right now is crucial," said Fedotenko. "We are fighting for (the) playoffs. A lot of teams are fighting for playoffs. I feel like it's very important. Again, the way we did last night (a 3-1 win over the Bruins on Saturday) and today, now it's over. We need to focus on the next game and make sure we get the next two points."
Timonen notched his fifth career four-point game, while Matt Read and Max Talbot also scored.
Talbot, though, suffered a broken left leg in the victory and is out indefinitely. He joins defenseman Braydon Coburn and Andrej Meszaros with long-term injuries, while blueliner Nicklas Grossmann (upper body) and forward Danny Briere (concussion) are also out.
Philadelphia acquired defenseman Kent Huskins from the Detroit Red Wings over the weekend and he made his debut on Sunday's win. The Flyers then swapped forwards with the Anaheim Ducks on Monday, exchanging the speedy Harry Zolnierczyk for the more rugged Jay Rosehill.
The Canadiens will try to halt the Flyers' win streak and pick up their fourth straight victory after posting a 4-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday. It was Montreal's ninth victory in 12 games and put them three up on the Boston Bruins for first place in the Northeast Division, though Boston pulled back to within a point with Tuesday's victory over Ottawa.
Carey Price made 18 saves in his 300th NHL game, while Max Pacioretty put the game away with a pair of third-period goals, including an empty-netter. Defenseman Andrei Markov countered a first-period Hurricanes goal with one of his own, while Jeff Halpern notched his first goal since Feb. 25 of last season.
"We're pretty comfortable playing one-goal games," said Price. "So far this year we've done a good job of coming back from deficits. It's just our tenacity, the group of guys up front who grind the other teams down."
An improved penalty kill is making it easier for the Habs to win close games. Carolina went 0-for-5 on the man advantage Monday and Montreal has killed off 17 of its past 19 penalties over six games.
While the Flyers have won six of their last eight versus the Habs, it was Montreal that took the first of three meetings this season with a 4-1 home victory on Feb. 16.
The Canadiens, who have lost four straight in Philadelphia, acquired defenseman Davis Drewiske from the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday for a 2013 fifth-round draft pick.
The 28-year-old Drewiske totaled a goal and four points in 20 games for the defending Stanley Cup champs this season.
04/03 10:33:09 ET
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