Preview: Flyers at Canadiens
The Montreal Canadiens are mired in a slump of historical proportions, with the club having allowed a franchise-worst 20 goals in its last three home contests while surrendering at least six in three consecutive games for the first time since October 1985. The Canadiens aim to snap a six-game winless skid (0-4-2) on Saturday afternoon when they host the Philadelphia Flyers.
"We're really not focused on a quick fix, or the slump or whatever you want to call it," Montreal forward Max Domi said. "The matter is, is we have to win our next hockey game and that's all we're really focused on right now." Traditionally mild-mannered Carey Price was seen smashing his stick on the crossbar during Thursday's 6-4 loss to New Jersey, marking the fifth time in six games that the Canadiens have yielded at least four goals. Philadelphia ignited its offense and improved to 9-2-4 in November following a 6-1 shellacking of Detroit on Friday. Sean Couturier collected a goal and an assist for the second time in three games in that contest and scored 55 seconds into overtime to lift the Flyers to a 3-2 win over Montreal on Nov. 7.
TV: 3 p.m. ET, NBCS Philadelphia, Sportsnet, RDS (Montreal)
ABOUT THE FLYERS (14-7-5): Jakub Voracek set up three goals on Friday to boost his point total to six (two goals, four assists) in his last four games after mustering just four points (all assists) in his previous dozen contests. Fellow forward Kevin Hayes has also heated up with five points (three goals, two assists) in his last six games after going without one in his previous 10. Defenseman Matt Niskanen also contributed offensively with a pair of assists despite receiving 15 stitches to his face after being on the wrong end of a shot by Dylan Larkin.
ABOUT THE CANADIENS (11-9-5): Artturi Lehkonen recorded his fourth goal and fifth point in five games after scoring at 8:37 of the third period on Thursday, but Montreal failed to net the equalizer to see its winless skid continue. "We just have to trust each other that we're going to do our jobs," the 24-year-old Finn said. "We have to find the confidence in each other and work together and get out of it." Defenseman Shea Weber notched an assist on Thursday to increase his point streak to three games heading into Saturday's tilt versus Philadelphia, against which he scored in the first encounter.
1. Couturier has 15 points (six goals, nine assists) and a plus-10 rating in his last 16 games.
2. The Canadiens placed F Paul Byron (knee) on injured reserve on Friday and recalled D Gustav Olofsson from Laval of the American Hockey League.
3. Flyers G Brian Elliott owns a 7-4-0 record with three shutouts, a 2.10 goals-against average and .931 save percentage in his career against Montreal.
PREDICTION: Canadiens 4, Flyers 2