NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, November 16th
(All times eastern)
Philadelphia Flyers (12-4-2) at Montreal Canadiens (11-5-1), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - It was the Flyers who got the best of the Canadiens in last
year's Eastern Conference finals and the way the two clubs have played so far
this season, a potential rematch could be on the horizon.
First, Montreal and Philadelphia will engage in the first of four scheduled
regular-season matchups tonight as they do battle at the Bell Centre.
It didn't seem likely that the Flyers and Canadiens would battle for the right
to represent the East in the Stanley Cup Finals as Philadelphia came into the
postseason as the seventh seed and Montreal the eighth. However, the Flyers
pulled off upsets of the Devils and Bruins to reach the conference title game,
while the Habs knocked off the Capitals and Penguins.
The two teams split their 2009-10 regular-season meetings and Montreal went
into that series having won four of six and 11 of the last 14 regular-season
meetings between the clubs, but Philly won the series in five games, taking
all three games at home while splitting two at the Bell Centre.
Philadelphia went on to lose to Chicago in six games in the Cup championship
but are looking like a team that will challenge for a title yet again. The
Flyers are 9-0-1 in their last 10 games and lead the Atlantic Division with 26
points, one back of the Capitals for the most in the conference.
Montreal is also looking like a contender, having won three straight. The
Canadiens lead the Northeast Division with 23 points and will try to make a
statement at home tonight.
"[Tuesday] we're playing a team that's above us in the standings and we all
know they're a very good team that seems to be playing well as of late. It'll
be a good test for us and we're excited about it," Montreal forward Mike
Cammalleri told Montreal's website. "I think we all remember who we lost to.
Maybe that adds a little something to the game. But all in all, it's a long
way away from the playoffs and you're just trying to get wins for this year."
Cammalleri was one of seven different goal scorers in Saturday's 7-2 victory
over Carolina and his fourth goal of the year ended an eight-game goal-scoring
drought. Tomas Plekanec ended with a goal and three assists, while Brian
Gionta and Andrei Kostitsyn joined Cammalleri with a goal and an assist.
Plekanec has a goal and seven assists in his last four games.
Carey Price made 28 saves for Montreal, which will try to match a season high
with four straight wins first set from Oct. 23-29. Price is 3-0-0 with a 1.00
goals-against average and shutout in his last three starts and 5-1-0 with a
1.90 GAA versus the Flyers in the regular season.
Like last year's Eastern Conference finals, the Habs will have to face the
Flyers without their top defenseman in Andrei Markov, who exited Saturday's
game with an apparent right knee injury. Markov hurt the same knee during last
year's second-round playoff series versus Pittsburgh and missed the rest of
the postseason and the first three weeks of this season after undergoing
surgery to repair a torn ACL.
Alexandre Picard is expected to replace Markov in the lineup tonight.
Montreal could use Markov tonight as Philadelphia is outscoring its opponents
18-4 over its last three games and hasn't lost in regulation since Oct. 25.
The Flyers' current 9-0-1 run is its best since an 11-game stretch (9-0-2)
from Dec. 17, 2005-Jan. 6, 2006.
Captain Mike Richards has been red-hot over Philly's 10-game run. He has a
point in nine of those games, amassing seven goals and six assists in that
span. He has five tallies in his last three games and turned in his second
straight two-goal game last night, a 5-1 home win over Ottawa.
"We are starting to get a lot of the bounces. In the beginning of the year,
there was a lot of posts and pucks just seemed to be slipping off sticks,"
Richards said. "You are going to have that in a year, where you can't seem to
find a balance then you have stretches where pucks just end up on the sticks
so that's a big part in it."
Richards also assisted on Claude Giroux's team-leading 10th goal of the season
for his 300th career point, while Giroux added two assists of his own. Daniel
Briere added his ninth goal of the season and Darroll Powe also scored.
Rookie Sergei Bobrovsky has been in net for each of Philadelphia's last 10
games and he made 28 saves last night as the Flyers unleashed a season-high 46
Philadelphia, which has won seven straight at home and is 3-0-1 in its last
four on the road, lost forward Dan Carcillo to a lower-body injury and the
second period and he is expected to be sidelined for the next two weeks.
11/16 10:53:59 ET