NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, October 26th
(All times eastern)
Philadelphia Flyers (5-2-1) at Montreal Canadiens (1-5-2), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Many wondered how the Flyers would replace the offense of
Mike Richards and Jeff Carter following an offseason makeover.
While scoring goals hasn't been an issue, the loss of defenseman Chris Pronger
could present a whole new problem.
Philadelphia will be without its captain for at least the next two weeks, a
span that begins tonight against a Montreal Canadiens club that is off to its
worst start in 70 years.
Following last season's disappointing playoff exit, the Flyers parted ways
with two of their top offensive players in Richards and Carter. Though they
added Jaromir Jagr, Wayne Simmonds and Jakub Voracek to help fill the void,
Philadelphia figured to rely in its defense, led by Pronger and new goaltender
The Flyers have still averaged a healthy 3.38 goals per game so far this
season, a pace they'll need to continue after Pronger suffered a scary eye
injury in Monday's win over Toronto. The bruising blueliner took a high stick
to his right eye with 8:02 left in the first period and immediately made his
way to the bench while covering his face.
Pronger, who missed 22 games a season ago due to injury, did not return and
Philadelphia general manager Paul Holmgren said the defenseman will be on bed
rest for three days in the hopes of returning in a couple of weeks.
"Right now, he had a little bit of a cut just on the outside of his right eye
here. The eye doctor checked him out thoroughly, and he's got a little bit of
an issue right now with his eye," said Holmgren, who added Pronger had
swelling around the eye.
Pronger's injury dampened Jagr's first two goals in a Flyers uniform. He had
notched four assists through his initial seven games with Philadelphia after
spending the previous three seasons in Russia. He scored his first NHL goals
since April 6, 2008.
"Truly, I needed it," said Jagr, who also had an assist. "I feel a lot better
right now than I have, that's for sure. I changed everything: the skate,
gloves. I got hit in the head during warm-ups, so that helped."
Scott Hartnell also had a pair of goals and an assist for the Flyers, who
snapped a two-game slide in the finale of a three-game homestand. Sergei
Bobrovsky stopped 24 shots in the win.
Philadelphia is 3-0 on the road this year and has allowed just three goals in
that span. It will face a Montreal club this evening that is off to its worst
home start in team history (0-3-2) and is just 1-5-2 on the season. The
Canadiens' current six-game losing streak, its longest since Feb. 6-17, 2007,
has the club off to its worst start since opening the 1941-42 campaign 1-10-1.
Montreal, which has never lost seven straight games in the post-lockout era,
saw its skid extended on Monday with a 2-1 loss to visiting Florida. Erik Cole
notched the lone goal and Peter Budaj made 29 saves in his first start of the
"We had a big game from [Budaj] but nobody likes losing. I'm tired of it,"
Cole said. "We have just got to find a way to get over the hump and we just
have to be tougher in front of their net to get those type of goals."
Despite ranking fourth with 33.9 shots per game, the Canadiens have scored
just 18 goals.
Carey Price got the night off after failing in five straight attempts to win
his 100th career game. Forward Scott Gomez also missed his second straight
game due to an upper-body injury, while Max Pacioretty left Monday's game with
an upper-body ailment.
The Flyers have won three straight and five of their last seven over the
Canadiens, but have lost six of nine at the Bell Centre.
10/26 10:51:15 ET