It was the fourth and the last regular season meeting between the Montreal Canadiens and the Philadelphia Flyers.
After a shutout win in Montreal Saturday night, the Habs visited the Flyers, expecting to finish the weekend nicely with two wins in two nights.
Carey Price was the Montreal starting goalie, after a brilliant performance the day before. Flyers coach John Stevens decided to go with Antero Niittymaki, who also offered a decent start despite the loss.
In the first period, located right in front of Niittymaki, Alexei Kovalev scored his 27th of the season, from an assist by Tomas Plekanek from behind the net and Andrei Kostitsyn. However, the Habs celebrations did not last too long, as Flyers Mike Richards got the puck past Carey Price while the Flyers were killing a penalty to defenseman Lasse Kukkonen. It was Richards's fifth shorthanded goal, and his 22nd of the season.
By the end of the first, Montreal defenseman Josh Georges was attracting all attention in his zone, arguing with some of his opponents. His teammates Francis Bouillon and Steve Begin took the opportunity to bring the puck over the Flyers zone, giving Bouillon his first goal since February 2007.
The Flyers began the second strongly, with Scottie Upshall shooting a puck that after being touched by Montreal Mike Komisarek, located itself behind Price.
Less than two minutes after, Kovalev got his second point of the night, assisting Michael Ryder on his 9th of the year. The player from Newfoundland has not scored since January 22, in a 8-2 win against the Boston Bruins. He made a come back to the game, after being put on healthy scratch for the teams' games against the Panthers, and the Flyers.
The Habs could not get advantage of any of their preceding five power plays, till Captain Saku Koivu scored midway through the second, assisted by Andrei Markov and Alexei Kovalev; while Flyers Ryan Parent and Scott Hartnell (for the second time tonight) were in the box.
Price was especially busy during that period, with 17 shots from the Flyers, along with two penalty killing and 18 seconds of a two men disadvantage with both defensemen Ryan O'Byrne and Mark Streit in the box.
The Habs still could not get any chances on two more man advantages in the third, but youngster Maxime Lapierre did not miss an empty net with less than two minutes to go.
Riley Cote scored his team's third goal of the night, in the last minute, assisted by Braydon Coburn and R.J. Umberger, for his first goal of the season.
Tom Kostopoulos, Patrice Brisebois, and Bryan Smolinski were put on healthy scratch for tonight's game.
Rookie G Carey Price recorded one shutout and a pass, in winning all three of his last games. During that sequence, he allowed four goals on 107 shots.
The team will host the NY Rangers on Tuesday night. The Rangers have won three of their last five.
The Habs have now as much points as the Ottawa Senators, who however still have one game in hand.
This post's three stars: Alexei Kovalev - Andrei Markov - Andrei Kostitsyn
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