Game Thread: Habs beat Flyers 3-0
The Montreal Canadiens play host to the team that denied them a trip to last season's Stanley Cup Final, the Philadelphia Flyers, Tuesday night at the Bell Centre.
The good news for Habs fans is that journeyman goaltender Michael Leighton, who found the golden horseshoe in the playoffs, remains in injured reserve with a lower back sprain.
The bad news is that the Flyers have a red-hot rookie netminder in Sergei Bobrovsky, who is 11-2-1 with a 2.01 GAA and .934 SvPct.
The other bad news for Habs fans is that we definitely know that Andrei Markov will not suit up against Philadelphia.
The question for Habs fans is, when will the All-Star defenceman return, if ever? Various speculations, citing "reliable sources" have him gone for as much as a full year.
Update: The Canadiens made an official statement Tuesday evening that Markov has a prolonged and indefinite right knee injury.
Markov has 21 points in 26 regular season games against the Flyers, and becomes an unrestricted free agent at season's end.
The Flyers are coming of a 5-1 Monday night victory, over the Ottawa Senators, and are 9-0-1 in their last 10 games.
Dan Carcillo suffered a knee injury in the game, and is expected to be out for at least two weeks.
"Right now, we think it's an MCL sprain," Flyers GM Paul Holmgren said. "We're going to have a further exam, probably an MRI."
Andreas Nodl should take his spot in the lineup.
Philadelphia's offense has scored 18 goals in their last three games, and are led by Claude Giroux (10 G 11 A). Mike Richards (8G, 11A), Daniel Briere and Jeff Carter, who just signed an 11-year, $58 million contract extension with the team.
The boys from the City of Brotherly Love like to put pucks towards the net, averaging 31.8 shots per game, and are third overall in missed shots. Suffice to say, opposition goalies and defenders have to be on their toes.
Veterans Chris Pronger and Kimmo Timonen anchor a Flyers defense that has been amongst the league's best this season. It should be no surprise that Philadelphia leads the NHL in blocked shots, but is only in the middle in the pack in hits.
Falling behind will not be something the Canadiens will want to do. The Flyers are 8-0-0 when leading after one period and 11-0-0 when leading after 40 minutes.
FLYERS PROJECTED LINEUP
van Riemsdyk - Richards - Zherdev
Hartnell - Briere - Leino
Powe - Giroux - Carter
Nodl - Betts - Shelley
Pronger - Carle
Timonen - Coburn
Meszaros - O'Donnell
Goalies: Sergei Bobrovsky, Brian Boucher
Carey Price is coming off three straight wins for the Canadiens, earning the NHL's First Star of the Week. He should get the start against the Flyers, holding a 5-1-0 lifetime record against them with a 1.91 GAA and .937 SvPct.
The Habs power play also sparked to life last week with six goals, moving them up to 20th in the league. Without Markov though, one has to wonder if that run of futility will return.
Canadiens forward Mike Cammalleri feels the match-up will be a good test to see how they stand this season.
"We’re playing a team that’s above us in the standings and we all know they’re a very good team that seems to be playing well as of late. It’ll be a good test for us and we’re excited about it," he said . "I think we all remember who we lost to. Maybe that adds a little something to the game."
The Canadiens and Flyers split last season's regular season series with two wins apiece.
CANADIENS PROBABLE LINEUP
Brian Gionta - Tomas Plekanec - Mike CammalleriDefense Parings: P.K. Subban - Alexandre Picard, Josh Gorges - Hal Gill, Jaroslav Spacek- Roman Hamrlik
Goalies: Carey Price ,Alex Auld
Follow what the Flyers fans have to say at Broad Street Hockey
Bulldogs in action: The Habs AHL affiliate is also in action, taking on the Toronto Marlies at Copps Coliseum. Captain Alex Henry will set the Bulldogs all time games played mark tonight.
Ray Emery: The former Flyers goalie spent most of the summer recuperating from hip surgery at his Muskoka cottage, and training for a comeback in Toronto. He is hoping to be back as early as January. Two stories on it from TSN and an earlier one from ESPN's Pierre LeBrun
Emery also appeared in girlfriend Keisha Chante's video Test Drive, filmed over the summer.
How will the Habs power play go without Markov?: More from LeBrun
1. MTL Mike Cammalleri (PP) (Gionta, Kostitsyn) 9:36
2. MTL Tomas Plekanec (Gionta, Moen) 13:48
3. MTL Brian Gionta (PP) (Plekanec, Subban) 6:24
Carey Price, yet another great save!
THREE STARS: 1. Carey Price 2. Tomas Plekanec 3. Brian Gionta