Here is a quick run through of the last 20 meetings, playoffs included between the Canadiens and Flyers since the 2006-07 season.
Things have changed a little since. The coaches back then were Ken Hitchcock, soon to be replaced by John Stevens, and Guy Carbonneau. The only players remaining for Philadelphia are Simon Gagne, Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, Braydon Cobourn and Riley Cote. Michael Leighton spent some time with the Flyers that season, playing four games, He was later
claimed on waivers by Montreal from Philadelphia on February 27, 2007. Six Canadiens remain from the 2006-07 series, and they are Andrei Markov, Tomas Plekanec, Maxim Lapierre, Andrei Kostitsyn, Jaroslav Halak and Josh Gorges.
In those 20 games, the Canadiens overall record is 12 wins and 8 losses. Those numbers include an 11-4 regular season run, and a dismal 1-4 from round two of the 2007-08 playoffs.
The Canadiens have six wins and five losses on Bell Centre ice, and six wins and three losses on Philly turf.
Simon Gagne notches two goals and an assist, including a shorthanded marker with 2:48 on the clock to lead the Flyers to a 4-2 win. Other goalscorers for Philadelphia are Mike Knuble and Sammy Kapanen while Koivu and Kovalev countered for Montreal. David Aebischer (22-26) was outdueled by Antero Niityymaki (29-31) in this game.
The Canadiens bench received an "abuse of officials" penalty while Mike Johnson of all people was called for goalie interference. Bout card: Sheldon Souray vs Darian Hatcher.
Guillaume Latendresse, Craig Rivet, Johnson and Christopher Higgins score for the Canadiens, Knuble and Jeff Carter for Philly. Aebischer stops 26 of 28 and Niittymake 33 of 37. Unbelievably, Johnson gets another goalie interference call!
Thirty-six minutes in penalties called, including 13 minors. Bout card: Garth Murray and Ben Eager
The fourth and final meeting of the season is another penalty filled affair with Kovalev, Johnson, Higgins and Ryder scoring for Montreal, Pitkanen and Carter for the Flyers. Goalies once again are Aebischer (34-36) and Niittymaki (22-26).
Fifty minutes in penalties are called in this game, with a 10 minute misconduct awarded to Todd Fedeoruk. Bout card: None.
With Cristobal Huet and Martin Biron in goal, the Canadiens outshoot the Flyers 41 to 19. The Canadiens marksmen are Saku Koivu, Kovalev, Tom Kostopoulos, Roman Hamrlik, Latendresse and Higgins. Mike Richards and Scottie Upshall score for Philly. A rough affair once more, with 22 minutes in minors, 4 majors and misconducts to Eager, Riley Cote and Patrice Brisebois.
An oddity for all time - Hamrlik is awarded a penalty shot and misses. Bout card: Scott Hartnell and Mike Komisarek; Eager and Kostopoulos.
Carey Price's first start against the Flyers sees him stop 30 of 31 shots, bettering Niittymaki who saves 19 of 23. Montreal got out to a 4-0 lead on goals by Higgins, Andrei Kostitsyn and a pair from Mark Streit. Knuble counters for Philly.
Twelve minors called in this one, relatively tame by previous standards. Bout card: None.
In the first game of a double header, Price shuts down the Flyers, making 34 saves, while Niittymaki stops 19 of 20. The lone Canadiens marker is scored by Andrei Kostitsyn. 17 minors are called during the game, including goalie interfernce on Cote and Randy Jones. Bout card: None.
Price (34-37) outduels Nittymaki (28-32) once more and the Habs get goals from Kovalev, Koivu, Francis Bouillon, Michael Ryder and Maxim Lapierre. Cote, Richards and Braydon Coburn tally for the Flyers.
Six minors are called on Montreal and seven, including goalie interference on Hartnell are called on Philly. Bout card: Steve Begin and Jason Smith.
2008 Eastern Conference Semi-Final
The first place Canadiens meet the sixth seeded Flyers in round two of the 2007-08 playoffs. Montreal has swept the season series and has won seven of the last eight meeting between the teams prior to the start of this series.
Notice is served that things would be different very quickly when the first period ended without penalties and a 2-0 Flyers lead on goals by R.J. Umberger and Jim Dowd. Andrei Kostitsyn missed on a penalty shot, but scored Montreal's first goal at the midway mark of the second, with Kovalev adding another, shorthanded seven minutes later. Joffrey Lupul brought the score to 3-2 before Kovalev tied the game with his second, a power play goal with 31 ticks left in regulation time. In overtime, Kostopoulos struck like lightning 34 seconds in to give the Canadiens the win.
The shot on Price and Biron were even at 33 until the Kostopoulos winner. Only six minors were called in the game, three a side with coincidental unsportsmanlike conducts calls being assessed to Upshall and Sergei Kostitsyn. Bout card: None.
Hab killer Umberger opened and closed the scoring for the Flyers in this 4-2 win, other Philadelphia goals coming from Carter and Daniel Briere. Koivu and Andrei Markov countered for Montreal. Umberger's second, at 17:36 of the third, put the game away. The shot margin for the Canadiens was much greater at 36 to 23, earning Biron a well deserved first star selection. Seven of 12 minors assessed went to the Flyers. Bout card: None.
Price (9-12) gets the start for Montreal, but is pulled when three of seven second period shots beat him. Halak comes on in relief, stopping the only two shots he faces in te final 20 minutes. Upshall, Richards and Umberger tally for Philly in period two, but Plekanec and Koivu score power play goals within 72 seconds in the third to make a game of it. Biron receives the third star, stopping 32 of 34.
Twelve minors are called during the game, including five of eight in the first period handed to the Flyers. Hatcher was the Flyer's temporary goat at 5:17 of the third, earning a five minute boarding major and a game misconduct that lead to Montreal's pair. Bout card: None.
Down two games to one in the series, the Canadiens opt to give Halak (22-25) the start. Umberger plays no favorites, with four goals in three games against Price, he shoots for two more in this game. Biron again stands on his head, stopping 36 of 38 shots fired his way. Other Flyer goals come from Hartnell and Briere. The canadiens are trailing 2-0 in the third when Pekanec and Koivu strike quickly again, this time within 37 second to tie the game. Briere's power play marker with less than four minutes to go is the difference, Umberger's second is into an empty net.
A relatively tame game, three minors go the Flyers way and five to Montreal, including a game changing interference call on Begin that lead to the Flyer's third goal. Latendresse is given a ten minute misconduct with two seconds on the clock. Bout card: None.
The Canadiens return with Price for Game Five and they are holding their own with a 3-2 lead at the midway point in the game. Within a 2:58 span, Richards, Umberger (his second of the game and eighth of the series) and Hartnell give the Flyers a 5-3 lead. Andrei Kostitsyn and Upshall trade goals in the third before Knuble settles the series with an empty netter with fifty seconds left. The Canadiens were off the series trend in this game, being outshot by the Flyers 37-35. As far as penalty calls, the series' most civil game, with only seven minors. Bout card: None.
And that was it, the downfall of the 2008 first place Habs, in a steal engineered by Umberger and Biron.
Biron is back to mere mortal status, letting in 4 of 26 shots, while Price is beaten on 3 of 32. After a scoreless first, Montreal gets goals from Andrei Kostitsyn, Hamrlik, Komisarek, Lang to turn around a 2-1 deficit. Gagne adds a third period marker to Carter's first period goal to make it closer, but Begin scores in an empty net.
Back to regular season truculence levels with this game with 14 minors called. Bout card: Lapierre and Downie, Latendresse and Lupul.
Halak (29-31) and Biron (24-25) duel this one out. The Flyers go ahead 2-0 on second period goals by Upshall and Carter, with Alex Tanguay notching one for Montreal in the third period. Only six minors handed out in this one. Bout card: Josh Gratton and Georges Laraque.
The third meeting of the season sees Halak and Niittymaki each face 31 shots. Montreal jump out quick in this one, with first period goals from Matt D'Agostini, Sergei Kostitsyn and Steve Begin. Aaron Asham replies late in the first. Kovalev and Latendresse add goals for Montreal, Coburn for Philly. Seven of ten minors are handed to Philly. Bout card: None.
Halak (35-38) and Niittymaki (32-36) meet again in the four meeting of the year, decided by a Mathieu Schneider overtime winner. The Flyers, on goals by Lupul and Richards, jump out to a 2-0 lead before the game is nine minutes old. The Habs strike back fast and fierce with three goals in a 2:04 span from Plekanec, Kostopoulos and Kovalev. Gagne adds one for the Flyers before the teams play a scoreless third. Nine of fourteen minors called in the game occur in the second period. The season series ends 3-1 for Montreal. Bout card: None.
In what just might be the worst game these two teams have ever played against each other, the retuned Canadiens outshoot a free falling Flyers club by the whopping margin of 15-13. Boucher and Price are the goalies. Briere scores for Philadelphia seven minutes into the game, Andrei Kostitsyn and Mike Cammalleri add goals for Montreal in the second, and Marc - Andre Bergeron closes things out in the third. Seven minors called: Bout card: Cote and Laraque.
Dominic Moore's Hab debut and P.K. Subban's NHL debut is the first of a double header, featuring Michael Leighton (23-25) and Carey Price (30-33) in goal. It's all Flyers for the game's first half, as they go up 3-0 on goals by Carter (2) and Matt Carle. Montreal responds with two quick goals Glen Metropolit and Moore within a 56 second span at the start of the third. From there nine of the game's 14 penalties ensue, including a boarding mahor and game misconduct to Darrel Powe and ten minute misconduct to Kimmo Timonen at game's end. Bout card: None.
Halak was given the start in the second game of the double header in Montreal and was blown out rather soundly. Yanked after the second period, Halak surrendered five goals on only 17 shots. Leighton, in goal for Philly, yeilded a pair of goals on 28 shots. Price handled the third for the Canadiens, with one shot of nine getting by him. Briere lead the way with a hat trick, singles going to Richards, Carter and Blair Betts. Montreal's goal were scored by Gionta and Gomez.
Briere's third came on a penalty shot after he was hauled down by Ryan O'Byrne. Eleven minors called in this game. Bout card: Laperriere and O'Byrne, four seconds into the game.
Halak makes amends for his February 13 showing with a 35 save shutout. Plekanec beats Boucher in the first, one of 23 Montreal shots during the game. Six penalties, four in the second, make this one a rather team affair with both clubs vying to clinch a playoff spot. Bout card: None.