Game 31: Canadiens roll over Flyers 4-1

Canadiens defenceman Mike Komisarek congratulates goaltender Carey Price after tonight’s victory over the Flyers in Philadephia.
Len Redkoles, NHLI via Getty Images

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Most of it was the game that Canadiens fans were waiting, even praying for, and could well be what gets their team’s engine running on all cylinders again heading into the club’s final two home games of 2007.

Montreal offered a mostly solid performance on Wachovia Centre ice tonight, albeit one with a few lapses of discipline, to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1.

Now, we’ll see whether the Habs can bottle the hard-earned W and uncork it Saturday night at the Bell Centre against their forever rivals, the Toronto Maple Leafs, who will arrive in Montreal in the wee hours of game day, playing the Thrashers in Atlanta on Friday night.

Canadiens’ Mark Streit had two goals tonight, the first two-goal game of his NHL career, joined on the scoresheet by Christopher Higgins and Andrei Kostitsyn.

Tomas Plekanec had a pair of assists, while Montreal goalie Carey Price made 30 saves to earn the victory, the Habs firing 23 on Flyers’ Antero Niitymaki.

Sergei Kostitsyn didn’t figure in any scoring in his NHL debut, but played 12:35 and never looked out of place. He figures to make a name for himself on the Canadiens, in a hurry.

Higgins opened the scoring for the Habs at 8:17 of the first period on the power play, Flyers’ Scott Hartness off for slashing.

His 13th goal of the season and fourth in his last six games was the outgrowth of some beautiful puck-control work by flu-weakened captain Saku Koivu, who weaved deep into Flyers ice before threading a pass through the slot to Andrei Markov. The pinched-in defenceman whipped a pass back cross-ice to Higgins, who buried a short wrist shot from the edge of the crease past Niitymaki.

The ice was still wet in the second period when Kostitsyn made it 2-0 at 21 seconds with his fifth of the season. Centre Tomas Plekanec capitalized on a botched Flyers rush, raced the puck up ice along the left boards and perfectly fed Kostitsyn, who had sprinted in and gotten behind a Philadelphia defender for the tip-in.

Philly’s famous boo-birds were in full voice at 5:01 when Streit scored his third of the year to put the Canadiens up 3-0, banging home a sharp pass sent out from behind the net by Alex Kovalev. It came on the power play, Montreal’s fourth man-advantage situation of the game until then.

And then Streit struck again at 9:58. Centre Maxim Lapierre won the draw deep in Philadelphia ice and battled to feed the puck to Tom Kostopoulos, who sent a terrific pass through to Streit at Niitymaki’s side, untouched behind Flyers defenceman Rory Fitzpatrick.

The Flyers finally got on the board at 15:52, Mike Knuble having a pass from Mike Richards deflect off his left skate behind Price with Montreal defenceman Ryan O’Byrne serving a hooking minor. It was the uncommonly disciplined Habs’ first penalty of the game.

But that good behaviour was to end, and only good penalty-killing saved the Habs bacon in the next few minutes.

Philadelphia was gifted with a four-minute power-play 59 seconds after Philly’s goal, Kyle Chipchura cutting Flyers’ R.J. Umberger with a high stick. The Habs killed off the first two minutes of that when defenceman Roman Hamrlik took a bad minor for roughing at Price’s side after the whistle at 18:50, giving Philly a period-spanning 5-on-3 for 1:59. But the Habs weathered it without damage.

O’Byrne took a holding penalty behind his own net at 2:38 of the third, missing a check on Joffrey Lupil and clutching him instead, but was helped out when Lupil held Koivu 50 seconds later to even the sides.

The Canadiens were 2-4-2 in their eight games heading into tonight’s contest, having dropped a 3-2 shootout decision on Tuesday to the road-lowly Tampa Bay Lightning at the black hole otherwise known as the Bell Centre.

Statistically, the Habs held the edge over: the Flyers, (16-11-2), who haven’t beaten the 15-11-5 Canadiens since Nov. 25, 2006. They did that – where else? – at the Bell Centre.

The Canadiens returned home immediately after the victory and practise Friday in preparation for Saturday’s game against the Maple Leafs, hoping to avoid losing a franchise-equalling seventh consecutive game on Montreal ice.


  1. habsfan80 says:

    habs 5 phil 1
    Koivu 2G 1A
    K.jr 1G
    kovalev 1G 1A
    markov 1G 1A
    Higgens 2A 1A
    streit 1A
    mtl 37 phi 26

    I could be right ( i hope )

    Go habs Go
    #25 in 09

  2. 24 Cups says:

    Two more quick points on the same theme. It has been said that the player who historically has displayed the most dedication and allegiance to his team is the one that was originally drafted by that team. Traded players and free agents usually don’t form as strong a bond with their new franchise.
    Also, the really big name superstars all seem to be re-signing with their present teams and therefore are not available on the open market (Thornton, Iginla, Heatley, Crosby, Datsyuk). The free agents that do get signed are usually the next tier down and don’t represent good value for the money and length of contract that they receive. (Briere, Gomez, Drury, Hamrlik, Souray, Kariya, Khabibulin) It’s an important point because once a team (such as us!) rolls the dice and signs a UFA player or two they quickly are at the point of no return re the cap hit and length of deal. As an example, if Gomez and Drury don’t live up to expectations then the Rangers will feel the repercussions for years. There might just be something to be said as far as Gainey being a cautious GM.

    The Original 24 Cups

  3. jshakka says:

    We should win 2nite. Like i said, yesterday, the young Kid has to be on the first line , and thats what’s rumoured to happen. Carbo has to leave that line alone for at least 10 games to see what this kid can do, and i know he can. Ryder will find his groove again, he’s 2 good.

  4. Bouleau noir says:

    Hight profile UFA always receive multiple offers and can afford to be selective.

    1) Hight scorers will joint teams that nurture the offensive element of the game,…. they will stay away from defensive minded coachs and organizations.

    2) Then, they will check the winning record of such team and then pick the one being the closest to fight for the Cup.

    Those two conditions is all they really care about,.. thats were the fun is.. and they all know that they will compete at their best under such condition.

    One of the main reason that The Detroit Red Wings hasn’t missed the play-offs in the last 15 years has alot to do with how easy for them it is to attract and signe hight grade UFA when the need arises,…. they simply have the right formula as a team to be attractive to the UFA.. and that is quite an asset to have as an organization.

    Its time we do the same.

  5. Bouleau noir says:

    According to Perron (exHabs coach,86 StanleyCup) Gainey offered his resignation at some point after the lost of his daughter,… but Gillett prefered not accepting it proposing instead having Gauthier playing a larger role as assistant-manager.

    Had I been in Gainey shoes I would have felt and done the same thing,.. Perron’s story only show how integrally honest a man Gainey is.

    The other side of the story was about how it is playing itself out in the present and what affect it had on our organization,…. but I missed that part also switching to ” la Zone “.

  6. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    as i posted below – tonight we turn it around..on one condition CARB.

    STRIET has to MOVE BACK TO D and take BRIS position
    Kostyjr with Koivu or his brother

    (Gorges should see ice against fast team like Buff)

    until the problem in my picture is solved…we will not be Champions.

  7. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    your post reminded me of how Souray would skate at FULL TILT across the ice anytime anything crazy was about to happen to our talent…and then he was the crazy one in the heat of the action ready to take on any idiot that DARED cheapshot one of our ‘stars’ —recall Kovalev/Tucker incident.

    now who is going to do it?

    thus my picture and statement below.

    (although I’ve already stated in a post below..tonight it all turns around.)

    until the problem in my picture is solved…we will not be Champions.

  8. krob1000 says:

    Sadly we have no control over the Quebec language issue and it does impact us. The taxes are also a concern but there was a time when everyone wanted to paly in Montreal and I think we can get there again. The same thing heppened with the Yankees as there organization was in terrible shape for the 1980’s and early 90’s and then they restored their image and now it is the place to play. yes money is a hgue factor but I think from a business perspective the Canadiens need to reestablish themselves as the go to franchise and winningest int he sport.

    This should mean something to all who enjoy hockey regardless of favourite team. It did when I was a kid and noone could deny what the Canadiens had done for the league and they still can’t. The next Canadiens superstar will be a legend beyond legends because we have been starved for so long. It is no cooincidence that Markov is leading the East all star vote getters as people really would like Montreal to succeed(even people who will never admit it). The Canadiens returning to glory is imperative to the sport itself as is the case with any of the original six. If the game ever loses one of those franchises it’s days are numbered.

    If we go this draft route and have players who don’t want to be there and are just biding their time to leave is that any better????Talent wouldn’t even matter if that is the case.

  9. johnny boy says:

    Gainey hasn’t been the same fiery leader since last year’s tragedy. Remember when he blasted all us fans because of incessant Brisebois bashing? I’m surprised he hasn’t come out and issued any kind of vote of confidence for his coach…. unless that is he is not confident in Carbo at all.

  10. ZepFan2 says:

    I heard it on the news here. No mention of Ryder sitting out though. Hmm

  11. Ian Cobb says:

    Krob1000-Thanks for your responce to my post. If you are right and the players have a great say where they want to play, and remember at 26 or 30 years of age and free agents, most of them have young families that would reside in the city that they chose to play in.

    Don’t get me wrong for what i am about to say, as i am a former homeless kid from Mtl. who was taken in by members of this great organisation. And i know what an amaseing city Mtl. is.

    But if i was a young free agent today would i pick Quebec to bring my young family too, i wonder. I started thinking about that after reading on this site about why players would not come to Quebec.

    They were talking about higest tax.s in canada, what schools there kids would have to attend in Quebec and a few more reasons that i can,t remember. So i’m not sure that we can attract the top free agent market. I still feel the way to the top is through the draft and develop our own. I wonder what others think along this line. Thanks IAN

  12. krob1000 says:

    I think tonight is going to be a very physical game and I hope you guys are wrong and Ryder dresses as he is one of our better hitters (forwards). If we sit him it totally negates the addition of Kosty jr. Another offensive player in the mix is what we need not replacing one.

    I also think tonight there will be at least one fight and I am betting on Lapierre being involved if it is not Kostopolous. I think he has been waiting for a middleweight and it would be a great trade for us if he could coax Mike Richards into something. It awould be a perfect win-win situation for him as he may win the fight and if not at least he is pulling the Flyers best all around player with him.

  13. The Cat says:

    We can win tonight. Flyers ought to be in classic let-down mode after their Pittsburgh game and we own Nittymaki.

  14. Hoegarden says:

    I can confirm it. I immediately switched to “La zone” on Radio-Canada following this cheap comment.
    Reliable source or not, he’s no longer in the Habs organization.
    He also mentioned that Gainey’s state of mind is at an all time low and that family issues (Lara) are much more important at the moment. Very sad to hear.

    So, it’s heads-up hockey tonight for the boys. That may, I repeat may wake some of them up.

    My real concern this year is that at the moment we stand 25th in Face-offs and 27th in PK and yet we have 3 coaches who made a living playing defensive hockey.

    All the bragging about our superior speed is also a joke.

    Bring in Eric Desjardins to look after our young D-men and let Jarvis worry about the PK only/only.

  15. Scotty90 says:

    Saw that on RDS site. They also say that Ryder is sitting out tonight. I didn’t think he played that badly last game, he was more involved, and did some moves that I hadn’t seen him do in a long while. I’m surprised!

  16. Scotty90 says:

    I would like to see Montreal come out with a win tonight but I don’t think its going to happen. If for any reason the Flyers start falling behind they will begin their intimidation tactics and turn things around. I fear we may lose a couple of guys to injury from cheap shots, dangerous hits or fight related (re-arranged face). I mean, if they start throwing their weight around do you think they will back-off when Kostopoulos comes on the ice? I Doubt it! I just feel bad for him for being put in that situation. Komi can’t help.. he may be big and strong but the league knows him and knows that he can’t defend himself; all they need do is not get caught in a bear hug. As for Bouillon, he’s the only one in my opinion that can fight but he is at a great disadvantage size-wise.

    Here’s hoping that Kosti junior doesn’t get roughed up too much; I would hate seeing him get rid of the puck quickly to stay out of harms way, and get returned to Hamilton because of it. Didn’t Kosti sr. get attacked last time they played the Flyers?

    What are your thoughts?

  17. ZepFan2 says:

    It’s official. Kosty the second will be on the 1st line. At least that’s what is being reported.

  18. Derek2 says:

    Agree – depends on who he plays with. Carbo might put him on checking line. We seem to be able to destroy any bit of offensive talent that comes up through our organization.

  19. joe-hab-nuno says:

    Perron looks and sounds like he’s drunk out of his mind on every show.
    Didn’t hear anything about it, hope it’s not true. I haven’t given up on Bob and probably never will.

  20. joe-hab-nuno says:

    So much for my first choices for the first 2 lines.

    Higgins-Koivu-Kovelev (seeing it has been the only combination that’s hasn’t been used)

    Kots-Pleks-Kotsjr (could be used as a motivational tool for both brothers in the same line and Pleks could play with almost anybody)

  21. AdamG says:

    i doubt anything at all will happen, even if we lose these 2 games 10-1 combined.

    but i could see carbo getting the boot before a trade. there just aren’t trades in this league anymore. and it’s not as though the only issue with carbo is his learning curve; if he’s lost the players just over 100 games into his tenure, can he really be the guy? are we willing to sit around for a few years waiting for the roster turns over to give carbo another chance with a second group of players? i don’t know. gainey can’t be too happy with carbo as coach right now. at some point, this team needs to carve out an identity for itself. one night they look like they want to be minnesota. the next night buffalo. the next night vancouver…

  22. AdamG says:

    i saw someone write on another board that Jean Perron on 110% last night said Gainey tried to quit but Gillet convinced him to stay. now i didn’t see the show. did anyone? can anyone actually confirm that this was said?

    god i hope not. this organization is in enough muck as it is…last thing we need is a GM who doesn’t want to be there..

  23. mrstewart61 says:

    to Ian Cobb: Doug Wickenheiser was our last 1st overall in 1980…but let’s not go there!

  24. joe-hab-nuno says:

    I think something will happen if we lose the next 2 games
    a) either Bob will go public with his mal content with the play and hope for a turn around
    b) it’s going to cost Guy his job

  25. joe-hab-nuno says:

    Many people are calling for Carbo’s to get the boot. My 2 main concerns are his crazy line juggling. When he had the lines stick together we were playing hard and we had the same line produce, and had early success. Then he wanted to get the first line going and started all that line juggling, that’s when they stopped playing harder and still it was all about the second line.
    The other concern is also, what is our system that we are playing? It’s suppose to be a defensive system, but how defensive systems allow 30-40 shots per game?
    When they were looking for a coach, i was a bit dissappointed they took Carbs cuz i ws hoping for Big Bird. When they appointed i thought it was a goo choice then, but now I had hoped they went woith someone with experience. Now these thoughts come to my mind, if they were to give him the boot, which experienced coach would you guys like to see behind the bench?

    My first choice would be Pat Burns, if he would like a second crack with us. I also think he would put these palyers in their place.

  26. ccs says:

    My gut feeling is that we really stand no chance of beating the flyers. If we lose to them the team will be really up tight against the laffs on Saturday. These next 2 games will really show… 1) What the players are made of. 2) Show what management is made of. There is no way that Bob could sit back and do nothing if we do not win. I really hope that we can win both games and get over our slump but I am just not feeling it at all. What do you all think will happen if we lose 2 more or what should happen?

  27. HAB-PROFESSOR says:


    the team will turn on a dime and win tonight and saturday, and they’ll do it with incredible return to hardwork, hitting and finding the back of the net with ease.

    we will all be amazed….and some will be ashamed of their comments and lack of faith.

    Sergie will dominate the headlines along with Koivu and Kovalev, Kostop will drop the gloves and Price will be solid along with the mighty Komi…Belieavu will look like a genius.

    Lets face it, we’ve had some unlucky bounces and pucks that didn’t go in when they should have…tonight, faced with the threat of bodily injury and pride you’ll see a competitive spirit re-emerge.

    of course there is ONE CONDITION for this to happen UNENCUMBERED.


    (you all know the purpose of a CARBurator)

    until the problem in my picture is solved…we will not be Champions.

  28. Habs-Fan-In-KY says:

    Sorry, I hit send to early…

    My post was that if Carbo shuffles lines as he does during the game, chances are the brothers will be playing together at some point. Just one wish for this game. Be more aggressive and take chances in the offensive end! I’d rather lose to the Flyers with an offensive attack rather than defensive stalemates.

  29. Habs_008 says:

    Love it! and it was clean. Lets hope he brings that up and some scoring!

  30. Wops says:

    I don’t know if Steve Downie is playing tonight, but check this out…

    CH is for Chris Higgins

  31. johnny boy says:

    Solutions to the habs woes?
    We need a coach with real NHL experience who doesn’t panic. Someone cool and confident. Larry Robinson comes to mind. He’s another legendary Hab with coaching experience. Carbo might still become a real coach one day, but i think that a few years as a head coach in the minors would have done him a lot of good.

  32. krob1000 says:

    I’ve actually noticed a big difference in Lats skating as of late. He is not falling and seems to be a beast on the boards meaning his balance is better.

  33. mjames says:

    Excellent post.


  34. Mr.Hazard says:

    I myself have not yet reached that stage of blind hope, but when (if) I do, I don’t think I’d be agreeing with you on the Ryder streak… How is it statistically possible for him to suck so much? He’s doing the perfect opposite of exactly what we needed out of him (that being scoring).

    Ex nihilo nihil fit

  35. krob1000 says:

    I read on last nights thread comments demaeaning Kkostitsyn already and saying his 22 points wasn’t exactly staggering and I thought I better challenge that quick. Plekanec in his third year with the Bulldogs scored 64 points in 80 games.

    Sergei K is third in the league among rookies in scoring.
    That alone speaks volumes about his talent and this when I ehar he has taken nights off in Hamilton I actually get more excited. He is still putting up those numbers and taking nights off. Yeah I know taking nights off sounds bad. When you played as well or arguably better than both of your linemates last year, your coach said you were more NHL ready, Your G.M. declared you ready and you are watching them on nightly highlight reels while you watch your team play Dandenault or Streit out of position instead of calling yu up it has to be frustrating. The key to his success will be in Carbo’s hands….he needs top line talent or PP time to have any impact from the little I have seen of him.

    He is not Martin Havlat and capable of undressing a whold team but he seems to be the type of guy who will be better with better players around him and I believe he will be able to make other guys better. Now…bnefore I get jumped on here I must say that this may not happen for a while but his talent by all accounts seems undeniable and I think he is going to be the better of the Kostitsyn’s …hands down. I can’t wait to see what he has even now to offer and for some reason I just have a really good feeling about this kid.

  36. Habs-Fan-In-KY says:

    uhhhhhh….do you have the torch?

  37. joe-hab-nuno says:

    just came from your shrinks office , haven’t you?…..

    joking, please don’t attack me.

  38. joe-hab-nuno says:

    I like the homework
    i ‘ve felt the same for everone except for Kots, i haven’t noticed it or looked at his backchecking play.

  39. joe-hab-nuno says:

    I would like to see the two Kostitsyn with Pleks and finally try Kovalev with Koivu. FOR THE WHOLE GAME………

    Then next game try it again and after 2 periods keep the second line the same as before(seeing it’s the only line scoring) or switch up the Kostitsyns

    game one


    Game 2 afetr of 2 periods without any success

    pleks-kovalev-kotsjr or


  40. mjames says:

    I was pleased to read some of Carbo’s quotes in Hickey’s column this morning. He did not berate O’Byrne.

    I agree with some of the posters that it would be good if Carbo opened up the game a little, with us becoming a little more aggressive on the forecheck. I have been saying this for two years that I would like a two man forecheck. Whenever they have tried this, they have caused turnovers or problems in the opposition end. What troubles me about Carbo is that he will not try this on a regular basis. He holds religiously to this passive forecheck and four across the blue line. It does not work against most teams. Since the line juggling has not worked why not try altering his playing style.

    I truly believe his style does not suit his team’s skills. I understand we need to play defense but the defense we need to play is a strong back check not this blue line trap. His wingers need to play more aggressive when they do not have the puck. They need to shadow the opposition wingers a little closer. They need to shut down the man in our slot. That is the type of defense we need to play. That combined with a strong forecheck would suit the skills of our team. Also someone has to stay in the opposition slot when on the offensive. No more three men in the corner or behind the net.

    The above changes may save Carbo’s job. If things continue the way they are now he will get fired.

    Homework for the youngsters:

     Lats take some power skating lessons on your days off.
     Kostitsyn 1 – Practice backchecking – you are too passive in your end when you do not have the puck.
     Grabs – Rent some St Louis tapes and watch how he plays with the puck. He does not get pushed around and is the same size if not smaller than you.
     O’Byrne – hit some people – a lot

    Lastly let’s give this kid K2 a fair shot.


  41. Axeman says:

    I’ve got a bad feeling …

    The last couple of games we’ve been facing teams on a losing streak, or teams that were killed in their previous outing ….

    Philly’s NOT gonna be an easy task.

  42. krob1000 says:

    Don’t worry I put the “in his day” disclaimer in there with regards to Brisebois but I think it gives us a better idea of Brisebois function as a role model and why he is there. The giveaways aren’t as important as the calm he shows under the mindset Reid was discussing. Now obviously Brisebois is aging and this will be his last season but despite his lack of speed or strength anymore he still remains calm (although it appears painful to us at times). This also why Hamrlik is probably used as sort of hockey big brother (Phaneuf, O.B.) because of his posie and patience. Calm is required at the defense position and the postion is the hardest to lear in the game because of the amount of risk when chances are taken.

  43. Mike says:

    Any one know the line up tonight?
    It’s be interesting where they put sergei? Are they going to put him on the number 1 line? I don’t think so. I think Andrei would be pretty angry.

  44. joe-hab-nuno says:

    Oops, should have been under Krob’s post.
    Sorry Krob.

  45. joe-hab-nuno says:

    Good read Krob, but that Brisebois comparison i have to disagree. From the three out of our zone i find Hamrlik the most reliable, he the one I find the most calm with the puck in our zone. Markov would be next, except for lately, he would be the best in the neutral and offensive zone and brisebois shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same list as them. That outlet pass is a great tool to have when you know your partner will be behind you if it fails. Many times Brezzer will attempt it when noone is behind him and leads to all those goals. He’s been okay this year for us. My only problem is that i wish he had less icetime. Just to hear his name makes me nervous when i’m watching.

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