NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, January 20th (All times eastern)
Montreal Canadiens (23-16-6-2) at Philadelphia Flyers (22-10-10-5), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Philadelphia Flyers seek their third straight win tonight when they welcome the Montreal Canadiens to the Wachovia Center.
Since a six-game winless slide (0-4-1-1), the Flyers have swept Toronto in a key home-and-home. After a 4-1 home victory on Friday, Philly managed a 4-0 triumph the following night in Canada.
Robert Esche made 34 saves for his second shutout of the season and Michal Handzus scored twice to back the effort. Esche has stopped 55 of the 56 shots he has faced in the past two games.
Todd Fedoruk and Jeremy Roenick also scored for the Flyers, with the latter player netting his 16th goal of the season. Roenick is tied with Mark Recchi for the team lead in that department.
With the win, Philadelphia tied Toronto for the Eastern Conference's top spot at 59 points. Each team leads its respective division, as Toronto is in first in the Northeast and Philadelphia holds the top spot in the Atlantic.
The news was not all good for the Flyers, as defenseman Eric Desjardins suffered a broken right arm in the first period. Desjardins, who could miss up to eight weeks with the injury, collided with Roenick along the boards.
With Desjardins out, the Flyers obtained defenseman Danny Markov from the Carolina Hurricanes Tuesday, in exchange for former first-round pick Justin Williams. The hard-hitting Markov is expected to join the team for this evening's game.
Elsewhere on the health front, goaltender Jeff Hackett is currently suffering from vertigo, and his availability to backup Esche this evening is in question. Also, defenseman Marcus Ragnarsson is expected to miss 10-12 days with a sprained left shoulder.
The Flyers, who have lost six of their last eight at home, will visit the NY Rangers on Thursday.
Montreal, meanwhile, is 3-0-1 in its last four, including Saturday's 2-2 tie with the visiting Rangers. New York's Alexei Kovalev scored late in the third period to lift the Blueshirts.
Pierre Dagenais and Michael Ryder notched goals for the Canadiens, who have lost just once in their last 10 games (7-1-2). Jose Theodore, battling the flu, made 27 saves, but was not called upon to turn aside any shots in extra time.
Dagenais, who also hit a post in overtime, has at least a point in six straight contests (5g, 1a). Mike Ribeiro (3g, 6a) and Richard Zednik (2g, 2a) both have four-game scoring streaks intact.
The Canadiens, 3-0-1 in their last four road tilts, will visit New Jersey on Friday.
Philadelphia has swept two games from Montreal this season, and has won six straight overall. The Habs have lost in their last three trips to the City of Brotherly Love.
01/20 14:25:00 ET