Gameday at Montreal: Habs, Briere Host Flyers

The Matchup

Philadelphia Flyers (0-1-0) at Montreal Canadiens (0-1-0)
Bell Centre — Montreal, QC
7:00 p.m. on CSN and 97.5 FM The Fanatic

Setting the Stage

The Flyers begin their back-to-back road trip in Montreal. A minor story line is Montreal right winger Danny Briere playing his first game against his former team.

The Habs last played on Tuesday, losing 4-3 to Toronto, the same team who beat the Flyers on Wednesday.

A fun fact from the Flyers site: The Flyers are 4-1-1 in their last six road openers. The only year they didn't earn a point in that was last season's 5-2 loss in Buffalo. The Flyers also haven't opened up on the road in Montreal since the 1995-96 season when they won 7-1.

Montreal forward Max Pacioretty will not play tonight against the Flyers with a left arm injury.

What to Expect

The Flyers will have another tough game with the Canadiens. They are soon finding out the playoff race is going to be incredibly tough all season with a bunch of Eastern Conference contenders jammed up into two divisions. Montreal, Toronto and Philadelphia are just a few of the teams that will be in a dog fight all year.

Montreal has a good defense manned by reigning Norris Trophy winner P.K. Subban, Josh Gorges and Andrei Markov. It also helps to have one of Team Canada's starting goalie candidates in Carey Price in net.

Montreal also boasts a handful of young scorers. Alex Galchenyuk, Brendan Gallagher and Lars Eller are all 24 or younger. Eller scored twice and had three assists in the season opener, Gallagher had a goal and Galchenyuk had two assists.

There is also the wild card that is Danny Briere. Playing in his first game against the Flyers, the 36-year-old forward could put up an inspired showing. And if he does, his first game back in Philly will be even better.

The Masked Men

Philadelphia - Ray Emery will make his first start of the season for the Flyers. He hasn't started for the Flyers since late 2009, and is hoping his return to Philadelphia this season will go a lot better than his first, which ended in injury.

Montreal - Carey Price will be making his second start of the season for the Canadiens. In his first start against Toronto, he allowed four goals on 38 shots.  

Keys to the Game

1. Emery's Debut - It may not technically be a debut, but Emery has a legitimate chance to have a great first impression for the Flyers. After Steve Mason's struggles to control rebounds in his loss to Toronto, Emery will look to erase a less-than-stellar preseason and get off to a good start in the regular season.

2. Powerplay - The Flyers powerplay unit went 1-for-7 against Toronto. A part of that was their inability to hit the net, even from point-blank range. After plenty of time was spent in practice working on hitting the net, the Flyers will look to have a much better showing, not just in the offensive zone with the man advantage but in general.

3. Galchenyuk/Eller/Gallagher - All three had impressive showings for the Canadiens in their loss to Toronto. All three can score, move the puck and be a nightmare in the offensive zone. Give them space and Emery and the defense are going to have a hard time.

Quotable

"We talked once in a while and are still in touch -- he’s a good friend. It’s a special game for both of us. You are with him almost 24/7. Since Day One, he took me under his wing and kind of adopted me. I felt like a big brother to his kids, his boys. It was a fun experience.” - Flyers center Sean Couturier on Danny Briere.

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