Two teams struggling to find consistency meet
tonight at the Bell Centre to play each other for the first time this season.
The Philadelphia Flyers and Montreal Canadiens faced each other 4 times last
year, with Montreal winning the season series 3-1, outscoring the Flyers
15-10. The Flyers will likely come out strong, as they were humiliated by
the Alexander Ovechkin-less Capitals on home ice last Saturday, 8-2.
Conversely, the Canadiens began their second century on a high note by winning
their Centennial game versus the Boston Bruins on Friday, 5-1. Mike
Cammalleri scored a hat-trick, Carey Price made 37 saves, and the Habs
demonstrated a solid team effort over 60 minutes. The Flyers are still
seeking their first win for new coach, Peter Laviolette, and are 3-7-0 over
their last 10 games; the Canadiens are 4-4-2 over that same span.
Brian Boucher (2-4-0, 2.52 GAA, .912 SV%) will
get the call in net for the Flyers tonight, as starter Ray Emery (11-8-1, 2.83
GAA, .901 SV%) is reportedly fighting off a nagging injury. Carey Price
(8-10-2, 2.77 GAA, .913 SV%) and Jaroslav Halak (5-4-0, 3.00 GAA, .894 SV%) will
likely split this set of back-to-back games, as the Canadiens face Ottawa in
Kanata tomorrow night. Price is reported to get the start tonight, and
will look to build off his solid performance on Friday. He is 2-2-1 over
his last five games, and owns a 2.84 GAA and .918 SV% over that time.
Tomas Plekanec continues to lead the Canadiens in scoring through
the first 29 games with 26 points (6G, 20A), but is
followed closely in points by the Habs’ leading goal scorer Mike Cammalleri (15G,
10A). The Flyers employ a well-balanced attack and feature Jeff Carter
(9G, 14A), Mike Richards (11G, 11A), Scott Hartnell (9G, 10A) and rookie James
van Riemsdyk (6G, 13A). Despite their 5-goal outburst last Friday, the Canadiens
typically struggle putting the puck in the net and sit 29th in
the league with 2.38 goals per game; the Flyers have no such issues and maintain
an average of 2.96 goals per game, good for 10th in the NHL. The two teams
rank about equally in goals allowed, with Philadelphia owning a slight edge in
that department (2.88 GAA, 17th) versus Montreal’s numbers (2.90 GAA, 18th).
It isn’t too surprising, given their potent offense, that the
Flyers possess one of the better powerplay records in the league.
Philadelphia is clicking along with a 22.6%
conversion rate, which is ranked 5th in the NHL. The Canadiens continue to struggle with the
man advantage (16.2%, 25th in the NHL), and are even worse at home (13%). Furthermore, Montreal remains
dead-last in the league for powerplay opportunities, having drawn at least 10
less opportunities than any other team in the NHL. The Flyers have struggled
killing off penalties and sit 24th in the league with a 78.3% success rate with
the man-disadvantage. The PK has been strong for Montreal lately, as they
have killed off 11 straight penalties, which included 2 lengthy 5-on-3 penalty
kills on Friday, and now possess the 13th best record (81.2%).
Andrei Markov (ankle) and Brian Gionta (foot) are
out with injuries while Sergei Kostitsyn will be in the lineup after
leaving last game with an ankle injury. Benoit Pouliot (wrist) is
questionable to make his Canadiens debut. Philadelphia will be missing Simon
Gagne (hernia), Mike Rathje (hip/back), Ole-Kristian Tollefsen (concussion),
Darroll Powe (shoulder) and Blair Betts (shoulder) with various injuries.
Daniel Carcillo will serve the first game of his 4-game suspension for
sucker-punching Washington’s Matt Bradley. Ryan White was returned to
Hamilton after Friday’s game.
The puck drops at 7:30 and can be seen on RDS.
This preview was written by Matt