Back-up Goalie Showdown in the QC
Philadelphia Flyers (6-8-1) at Montreal Canadiens (8-4-1)
Bell Centre — Montreal, QC, Canada
7:00 p.m. on Comcast Sportsnet and 97.5 FM The Fanatic
Setting the Stage:
This is the first of three meeting between the two teams. The Flyers won the season series last year, 3-1.
The Flyers are on the second half of another back-to-back, having dropped to New Jersey 5-3 yesterday. They are 1-2-0 on the second game of back-to-back's this season, this being their fourth in as many weeks.
Montreal will be coming in with two days rest after shutting out Florida, 1-0, on Thursday. They are winners of two straight after suffering a three-game losing streak.
Montreal won't have Carey Price for tonight's game. He has the flu. The Flyers are still without Scott Hartnell (foot) and Andrej Meszaros (shoulder). Kimmo Timonen is now day-to-day with a lower body injury.
What to Expect:
The Flyers could potentially be gassed after a hard loss against New Jersey and long flight from North Jersey to Montreal. And with their 1-2-0 record, they've been out-scored 13-8 in their three second-half games on back-to-back's.
Timonen's injury could be a bit problematic if he isn't able to play tonight. That could result in more ice time for Andreas Lilja, or even a well-deserved promotion for Erik Gustafsson.
The Flyers have four players leading them with 10 points: Matt Read, Claude Giroux, Brayden Schenn and Jakub Voracek. Read has a team-high six goals.
The Habs scoring is lead by Tomas Plekanec, who has six goals and five assists. Defenseman Rafael Diaz has a team-high nine assists.
Montreal's power play, which is 10th in the NHL with a 20.3 success rate, has been ice cold as of late. They are 1-for-14 in their last three games.
The Masked Men:
Brian Boucher will get the start for the Flyers today. Boucher hasn't had a start yet this season, having played in garbage time this past Monday, allowing one goal on 11 shots. Bryzgalov gave up four goals on 18 shots yesterday to New Jersey, proving he needs a rest.
Originally, Carey Price was expected to get the start coming off of a pair of excellent performances this week but he will be out with the flu. Instead Peter Budaj will get the start for Philadelphia. Budaj has made only two starts this season, getting lit up for nine goals in both losses.
Keys to the Game:
1. Attack Budaj. He has no rhythm right now, nor probably any confidence. Having been thrown into this start, the Flyers need to get on him early and often because it doesn't look like Montreal will have the option of pulling Budaj.
2. Special teams. The Flyers played a well-behaved game yesterday, taking only one penalty in the first period and snapping the Devils' power play goal streak with that discipline. Montreal has been struggling on the power play as of late, going 1-for-14 in their last three games. This is an area where the Flyers need to dominate in order to win tonight.
3. Boucher. Boucher is making his first start of the season, and it will be under a bit of pressure. Montreal fans are notorious hecklers of the netminder and they are well aware his team needs two points tonight. If Boucher can block out the noise and play a sturdy game the Flyers should come away with a win.
“We gotta be a little bit more ready to start up the period. Obviously, they got off to a big start. We weren’t on our toes to start both those periods.”
- Defenseman Luke Schenn on the Flyers giving up goals 40 seconds and 26 seconds into the first and second periods respectively on Friday.