Fresh off of a win in Buffalo over the Conference leading Sabres the Canadiens have to refocus as they will attempt to increase their season long winning streak to five games. The Flyers on the other hand have lost six in a row and eight of their last ten. Oddly enough one of those two wins were against these very Canadiens. The Habs had beaten the Sabres the night before in overtime but were skunked 3-0 in the 2nd period. Simon Gagne scored a power play and short handed goal in that game.
With two goals against Buffalo on Tuesday Chris Higgins appears to be back in top form after missing 19 games with a high ankle injury. Higgins now has 10 goals on the season and is averaging one point per game.
Both the Flyers and Canadiens altered their rosters just prior to the holiday roster freeze. Montreal sent Maxim Lapierre back down to Hamilton for what was just a numbers issue. Lapierre had scored a point in each of his four games with the Canadiens this season including 3 goals. The Flyers made their move via a trade with the Islanders acquiring Mike York in exchange for Randy Robitaille and a 5th round draft choice.
David Aebischer will get the nod in goal for the Canadiens tonight. Aebischer has just one win in his last five starts and has a 2-2 record all time against the Flyers. Antero Niittymaki is believed to be the Flyers starter despite losing seven starts.
Game Notes: Steve Begin will likely be back in the Canadiens line-up after missing four games with a rib injury. Mathieu Dandenault is still listed as day to day with a hand injury. Flyers star centre Peter Forsberg is doubtful for tonight’s game due to concussion issues. After tonight the Canadiens go on the road for four consecutive games.
1. The current Flyers losing streak is their longest in franchise history.
2. The Flyers record without Peter Forsberg this season is 0-7-3.
3. The Canadiens have scored the fourth most power play goals in the NHL this season despite ranking only above the Islanders in power play opportunities.
4. Alex Kovalev has a four game point streak against the Flyers scoring 2 goals and adding 5 assists in that span.