Flyers power past Canadiens as they head into all-star break

The Flyers' Jeff Carter (left) celebrates his power-play goal with Danny Briere and Mike Richards. It was thefirst of two goals the Flyers scored with a two-man advantage late in the first period.
The Flyers' Jeff Carter (left) celebrates his power-play goal with Danny Briere and Mike Richards. It was thefirst of two goals the Flyers scored with a two-man advantage late in the first period.
Posted: January 26, 2011

The power play, stale for almost a month, came to life on Tuesday night and keyed the Flyers' history-making 5-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens at the Wells Fargo Center.

Power-play goals by Jeff Carter and Kimmo Timonen, both on five-on-three situations late in the opening period, ignited the Flyers, who go to the all-star break with a 33-12-5 record and 71 points.

It equals the second-best 50-game start since the franchise began in 1967, topped only by the 1979-80 Flyers, who were 35-3-12 for 82 points. That team lost to the New York Islanders in the Stanley Cup Finals.

In addition, the Flyers notched the 1,000th home win in the franchise's history, becoming the first expansion-era (post-1967) team to reach that plateau.

Ed Snider, the chairman of the Flyers' parent company, Comcast-Spectacor, called the accomplishment "a true testament to the many men who have put on the orange and black. This milestone represents Flyers hockey."

The Flyers finished with three power-play goals against all-star goalie Carey Price as they improved to 3-1 against the Canadiens this season.

Defenseman Chris Pronger equaled a career high with four assists for the Flyers, who were 3 for 5 on the power play while Montreal was 0 for 7.

Rookie goalie Sergei Bobrovsky notched his sixth straight win and improved his record to 21-6-3.

In the last few days, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette warned his players not to be looking ahead to their long break, as they did in a 5-0 loss to Florida on Dec. 20, before their holiday vacation.

The players got the message, producing one of the Flyers' most complete efforts of the season.

"We remembered what happened against Florida and we wanted to make sure it was a better showing," said all-star center Danny Briere, who finished the scoring with an empty-net goal that was assisted by Bobrovsky. "It's a lot easier to get motivated when you play the Montreal Canadiens."

The Flyers took a 2-0 lead on five-on-three power-play goals by Carter and Timonen late in the first period.

"Five-on-threes usually dictate the game," Briere said. "You can't miss on those opportunities. Those two goals put them back on their heels and gave us a lot of confidence."

The Flyers put on a clinic during much of the second period, one that featured arguably their best shift in the first 50 games.

The shift didn't produce a goal, but only because Price had the answers. The line of Carter, Claude Giroux, and Nik Zherdev had the puck in Montreal's end for about two minutes, drawing a standing ovation when an exhausted Price fell on the loose puck with 11:27 left in the period.

Early in that second period, Dan Carcillo scored on a rebound to give the Flyers a 3-0 lead.

Montreal got to within 3-1 on David Desharnais' goal with 7:17 left in the second, and the Habs nearly cut the deficit to one goal 52 seconds later. Jaroslav Spacek's drive went off the left post and trickled behind Bobrovsky, but the Russian goalie got his glove on the puck just before it crossed the goal line.

Giroux, a first-time all-star selection, finished a pretty tic-tac-toe passing play, knocking in a Scott Hartnell feed to make it 4-1 with 3:08 remaining in the middle period. It was the Flyers' third power-play goal of the night, matching a feat they also accomplished in a 6-3 win over Buffalo on Oct. 26.

Before Tuesday, the Flyers had scored power-play goals in just three of their last 12 games. They were in a 13-for-108 funk over their last 27 games.

In their history, the Flyers have won home games at the Spectrum (696-293-140) and the Wells Fargo Center (301-179-78), along with the Colisee de Quebec (3-1-1), which was one of the arenas they used when part of the Spectrum roof blew off during the 1967-68 season.

Briere was asked if he or his housemate, Giroux, was more excited about going to the All-Star Game.

"Probably our three boys are," he said with a smile, referring to his three sons.


Contact staff writer Sam Carchidi at scarchidi@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BroadStBull.

 

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