NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, February 16th
(All times eastern)
Philadelphia Flyers (30-22-5) at Montreal Canadiens (30-19-9), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Philadelphia Flyers hope to break out of a lengthy
winless drought when the slumping club begins a home-and-home series with the
Montreal Canadiens tonight at the Bell Centre.
The Flyers have lost five consecutive games and are just one defeat shy of
matching their longest skid of the season, which took place from December
13-22. In its most recent contest, Philadelphia was handed a 5-3 setback by
visiting Tampa Bay on Thursday.
Joffrey Lupul had a goal and an assist for the Flyers, while Steve Downie and
Jeff Carter also lit the lamp in the loss. Martin Biron made just 23 saves
between the pipes, however, and lost his fourth straight start.
Defense and goaltending have been a problem for Philadelphia during its
current slide, as the team has surrendered four goals or more in four of those
The Flyers could be getting some help to their blueline corps, though, as
veteran defenseman Derian Hatcher is slated to return to action tonight after
sitting out Thursday's loss with a sore knee. Teammate Braydon Coburn, who has
missed the last three games after rupturing an artery in his left buttocks
during a 2-0 home loss to the New York Rangers last Saturday, may also be back
Philadelphia will again be without star left wing Simon Gagne for a fourth
game in a row, however, due to a concussion.
Montreal had lost three straight games before rebounding with an overtime
victory at Florida on Wednesday. Alex Kovalev scored the deciding goal 1:43
into the extra session to lift the Canadiens to a 2-1 decision.
Christopher Higgins also scored for the Canadiens and Saku Koivu assisted on
both Montreal goals. Habs goaltender Carey Price delivered a strong outing, as
the rookie stopped 35 of the 36 shots he faced.
Price is expected to start tonight's test as well, and Montreal will have
veteran defenseman Roman Hamrlik back in the lineup after sitting out five
straight games with the flu.
The Canadiens will play five of their next six at home but have struggled at
the Bell Centre this season, having recorded just a 12-10-5 record as the
Montreal has dominated this series as of late, however. The Habs have taken
four straight encounters with Philadelphia, including a pair of games this
season, and are 8-1-1 against the Flyers since the start of the 2005-06
These teams conclude the home-and-home set Sunday at the Wachovia Center.
02/16 10:19:04 ET