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NHL Game Summary - Montreal at Philadelphia



(Thursday, January 11th)

Final Score: Montreal 4, Philadelphia 2

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Christopher Higgins recorded a goal and an assist, as the Montreal Canadiens bested the Philadelphia Flyers, 4-2.

Mike Johnson, Alex Kovalev and Michael Ryder all added goals for the Canadiens, who snapped a three-game road losing streak. Tomas Plekanec and Andrei Markov each donated a pair of assists in the win, while David Aebischer stopped 34 shots.

Joni Pitkanen scored his first goal of the season and Jeff Carter also tallied a goal for the Flyers, who couldn't cash in on dual emotional lifts en route to their seventh straight loss at home and fifth in a row overall.

In addition to getting current captain Peter Forsberg, who had missed the team's last four games with a groin injury, back on the ice, Philadelphia honored former captain and defenseman Eric Desjardins prior to the game.

Desjardins announced his retirement in August, putting an end to his 17- year career. He spent 10-plus seasons with the Flyers, who acquired him from Montreal during the lockout-shortened 1994-95 campaign.

Desjardins, who became the 12th captain in club history in 2000, ended his career second on the Flyers' all-time list for defensemen in goals (93), assists (303) and points (396). He won a franchise-record seven Barry Ashbee Trophies as the most outstanding Flyers defenseman and played in three All- Star Games.

The two teams combined for three goals in a 55 second span, as Montreal emerged with a 2-1 edge.

At the five minute mark, Higgins whipped a shot from the left circle that goaltender Antero Niittymaki failed to hold in his glove. Johnson then got two whacks at the puck before putting it into the net.

Niittymaki finished the game with 22 saves.

Philadelphia answered just 25 seconds later when Carter redirected Alexei Zhitnik's point shot past Aebischer, but Montreal cashed in 30 seconds later to regain the lead.

Off a Flyer turnover, Markov sent a pass to a wide open Kovalev to the right of the net, and the forward slid the puck between the post and Niittymaki's pad for his 11th goal of the campaign.

The Flyers managed to tie the game less than two minutes later with a power- play goal. Forsberg started the play with a cross-ice pass off a Canadiens stick and to a pinching Pitkanen, who put the feed into the back of the net from the left side at 7:51 of the first.

Montreal went ahead 3-2 on the lone second-period goal. Following an icing by the Flyers, Montreal won an offensive zone draw, which allowed Francis Bouillon to fire a shot from the point and Higgins was there to redirect the blast for the eventual game winner.

The Canadiens had a golden opportunity to stretch their lead to two with a 5- on-3 advantage early in the third. However, Niittymaki kept the puck out of the net and a hooking call on Saku Koivu prematurely ended the power play.

Ryder, though, gave his team that two-goal edge after wristing a shot from the left circle past Niittymaki's glove at 7:10 of the third.

The Flyers had a chance to get back into the game midway through the third when Bouillon was whistled for a double high-sticking minor penalty while already short-handed.

Philadelphia failed to light the lamp while up two men, and then couldn't get within one despite having over two minutes of 5-on-4 power-play time.

Game Notes

The Flyers claimed goaltender Michael Leighton off waivers from Nashville earlier in the day. He will provide insurance in net as both Niittymaki and fellow netminder Robert Esche have battled injuries this season. The club also assigned forwards Eric Meloche and Stefan Ruzicka, and defenseman Jussi Timonen to the Philadelphia Phantoms of the American Hockey League...The Flyers are 0-13-3 without Forsberg in the lineup this year...Philadelphia is also now 1-24-1 when its opponent scores first and 0-25-1 when trailing after two...Montreal is 11-0-2 when scoring four goals or more...Forsberg needs one more point to reach 100 as a Flyer and two more assists to reach 600 in his career...Flyers forward Kyle Calder played in his 400th NHL game, while Sami Kapanen skated in his 200th as a Flyer...Markov now has 27 assists on the season.

01/11 22:11:41 ET

NHL SCOREBOARD
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