Canadiens come up short
MONTREAL (AP) - The Philadelphia Flyers had enough energy to bounce back from a big win in Pittsburgh and hold on to the top spot in the NHL.
James van Riemsdyk scored his second goal of the game on a power play 14:27 into the third period and Philadelphia extended its winning streak to four with a 5-3 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night.
Van Riemsdyk's line combined for seven points. Jeff Carter had a goal and two assists, and Nikolay Zherdev had a goal and an assist for the Flyers, who lead the NHL with 47 points.
"I thought that line was terrific all night," Philadelphia coach Peter Laviolette said. "They generated a lot of speed and a lot of offensive opportunities with the puck."
Carey Price made the initial save on the play that led to van Riemsdyk's goal that gave the Flyers a 4-3 lead. Canadiens defenseman Roman Hamrlik's clearing attempt put the puck right on the Philadelphia forward's stick for an easy tally.
"Carter and Zee both put pucks to the net," van Riemsdyk said. "They were jamming at the rebound and it popped right onto my stick and I had a wide-open net to put it in."
Claude Giroux made it a two-goal lead with his 16th at 15:28. Sergei Bobrovsky made 38 saves for his 15th win.
P.K. Subban had a goal and an assist for Montreal, which has lost three in a row for the first time this season. Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta scored 2:54 apart midway through the third for the Canadiens, who trailed 2-0 and 3-1.
Price made 25 saves.
"For the most part, we did a lot of good things. We've got to figure out how to make it 60 minutes," Gionta said. "If you don't put yourself in a hole like that you have a much better chance of coming out with a win. We did a good job of battling back in the second and third but those mistakes hurt us."
Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger didn't return for the third period. A team spokesman said Pronger sustained an undisclosed lower body injury and would be re-evaluated Thursday.
Philadelphia has won nine of 13 (9-1-3). The Flyers ended Pittsburgh's 12-game winning streak with a 3-2 victory on Wednesday night and moved past the Penguins for first place in the NHL.
"The (Canadiens) are tough at home and we certainly weren't on our game 100 percent, but we found a way to get two points," said defenseman Sean O'Donnell, who assisted on Zherdev's 11th goal 5:31 into the third that put Philadelphia ahead 3-1.
Carter scored his 12th goal with 17.6 seconds left in the first and assisted on van Riemsdyk's goal in the second that went in off Montreal defenseman Hal Gill.
Bobrovsky made a huge save in the final seconds of the first. The rookie stuck out his paddle to stop Hamrlik's shot off a loose puck just before time ran out.
Plekanec scored his 10th goal 7:01 into the third to draw Montreal within 3-2. Gionta tied it with his 10th at 9:55.
Subban, who earned his second point of the game with an assist on Gionta's goal, scored his second goal of the season on a 5-on-3 power play late in the second period to cut Montreal's deficit to 2-1.
Michael Cammalleri and Scott Gomez each had two assists for Montreal. Gomez returned after missing two games because of a lower body injury. He centered a line with Gionta and left wing Max Pacioretty, who made his season debut after he was recalled from Hamilton of the AHL on Sunday.
NOTES: Flyers LW Jody Shelley sat out the final game of his two-game suspension for his hit from behind on Boston's Adam McQuaid on Saturday. ... Centers Dustin Boyd and Tom Pyatt and defenseman Yannick Weber sat out for Montreal.
File and forget
Postgame comments: Martin | Cammalleri | Spacek | Pacioretty | Subban | Gionta
Notebook - Dec. 15, 2010
The notebook - Dec. 14
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