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NHL Game Summary - Philadelphia at Montreal



(Thursday, December 21st)

Final Score: Montreal 4, Philadelphia 2

Montreal, QC (Sports Network) - Mike Johnson scored a short-handed goal and David Aebischer made 26 saves to lead Montreal past Philadelphia, 4-2, at the Bell Centre.

Aebischer recorded his 100th career victory and Guillaume Latendresse, Craig Rivet and Chris Higgins scored for the streaking Canadiens, who have won five straight.

Mike Knuble and Jeff Carter tallied goals for the slumping Flyers, who extended their franchise-record losing streak to eight games.

"The last couple of games, we have done some things really well," said Carter. "If we keep working at it, things will work out because we are setting some good ground work."

Antero Niittymaki allowed four goals on 37 shots for Philadelphia, which played without captain Peter Forsberg, who missed his second straight game with a concussion.

Mike York made his Flyers debut after being acquired from the New York Islanders on Wednesday in exchange for forward Randy Robitaille and a fifth-round pick in the 2008 draft and did not register a point.

The Flyers had a chance to take the lead with 5:34 left in the opening period after R.J. Umberger was awarded a penalty shot. Umberger glided in on Aebischer and from down low, shifted to his backhand, only to see the puck roll off the end of his stick as he never got a shot off.

Shortly after Philadelphia's missed opportunity, Montreal capitalized off a two-man advantage to go up 2-0 late in the first.

Sergei Samsonov controlled the puck at the left side of the crease and fired a shot that Niittymaki stopped but couldn't control. From in front, an uncovered Latendresse pounced on the rebound and fired it into the net with 3:20 left in the period.

Still on the power play, Michael Ryder's wrister from the slot was knocked down by Niittymaki and Rivet, who skated in from his point position tapped the rebound into the net to make it 2-0 just 1:09 after Latendresse's tally.

A power-play goal by the Flyers 5:41 into the second stanza made it 2-1. Simon Gagne's slapper from the top of the right circle was stopped in front and Knuble controlled the rebound just outside the crease and slipped it past Aebischer for his 14th goal of the season.

With 49 seconds left in the second period, Johnson scored a short-handed goal for the Canadiens to up their lead to 3-1.

Just 19 seconds later, Carter answered and scored for the Flyers to make it 3-2 heading into the third period. Stefan Ruzicka made a nifty backhand pass at the left side of the crease to Carter, who rammed the puck over the goal line.

The Habs put the game away with about six minutes left in the contest as Higgins tallied his 11th goal of the season. Higgins skated into the Philadelphia zone up the left wing and his wrist shot from the circle was stopped. However, Niittymaki didn't control the rebound and Higgins followed the play up and slammed the puck home.

"What we are looking for right now, is good even-strength hockey," said Montreal's Saku Koivu, who assisted on Higgins' goal. "They were pushing pretty hard until our fourth goal. A lot of times, you have the control, but the puck bounces a certain way. But that goal was the big one for us."

Game Notes

Montreal has won five of the last seven encounters with Philadelphia...Andrei Markov finished with two assists for the Canadiens...Montreal went 2-for-8 on the power play while Philadelphia finished 2-for-5 with the man advantage...Alexei Zhitnik picked up his first point as Flyer, notching an assist on Knuble's goal. Philadelphia acquired Zhitnik in a trade with the Islanders over the weekend.

12/21 22:47:33 ET


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