Jeff Carter had two goals, and Scott Hartnell had two assists as the Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Montreal Canadiens 3-2.
The win snapped the Flyers nine-game losing streak, at home against the Canadiens, and leap-frogs them into sixth place in the Eastern Conference standings.
Philadelphia got on the board first at 18:14 of the first period as a Flyers power play ended. With Carey Price flat across the goal line, Hartnell and Carter continued to dig and pitchfork until Carter finally squeezed it underneath the Canadiens netminder, who argued the call.
“I can see the refs point of view that the puck wasn’t covered," said Price. "My argument was that when your getting jabbed in the net, that it’s interference on my job to stop the puck.”
The Flyers got quick goals early in the second period from Carter (1:17) and Matt Carle (3:17) in what was possibly the worst 20 minutes of play by the Canadiens this season.
The home team had a 23-13 shot lead after 40 minutes and were it not for Price, it could have been a lot worse.
Despite letting in a weak fives-hole to Carter, the young goalie continued to battle to keep his team in the game against the Philly shooting gallery.
Montreal had played a perimeter game for most of the first two periods, which was evident by the Flyers 29 blocked shots on the night..
The Canadiens were not going into the net, but they began to do did just that two minutes into third. Rookie P.K. Subban took the puck up the ice and dumped it towards the net, where Glen Metropolit slipped it past Michael Leighton to get Montreal on the board.
The Habs' other newcomer, Dominic Moore, then scored his first goal with his new team after a wild scramble in front of Leighton just 56 seconds later.
The Montreal penalty kill units were then forced into work, fighting off three straight penalties to keep the Canadiens in the game, and shutting down the Flyers power play six times all night.
There was yet another scare for the Canadiens after a boarding penalty on Darroll Powe left Jaroslav Spacek bleeding on the ice. The veteran defenceman managed to skate off the ice, amidst the disturbing boos from the Wachovia Centre crowd.
Despite the man advantage, the Canadiens couldn’t get one past Leighton.
"We didn’t get the start we wanted," Moore said. "We built some momentum in the third, but it was a bit too late."
Moore's comments were echoed by Canadiens coach Jacques Martin, who noted that playing a full 60 minutes is crucial with the season winding down.
Game Three Stars:
1. Jeff Carter
2. Scott Hartnell
3. Matt Carle
Getting dirty: A FLyers-Canadiens game wouldn't be complete without some shenanigans as a scrum developed on the ice after the final horn blew.
Price, already on the Montreal bench, avoided a potential suspension when Hal Gill prevented him from stepping back on the ice.
"We’re two teams that are desperately clawing for a playoff spot," Moore said on the post-game mix up. " Obviously the intensity is a little stronger right now."
The two team's meet up again Saturday night, where the night's intensity in Philadelphia will likely carry over to the Bell Centre.
Price may have summed it up best, "Whatever happens tonight, leads into the next game."