Ryder, Koivu lift Canadiens past slumping FlyersFeb 18, 2008 - 4:25 AM
Michael Ryder snapped a tie with a second-period tally and rookie Carey Price stopped 34 shots to lead the Canadiens to a 5-3 victory over the reeling Flyers on Sunday in the finale of a home-and-home series.
Alexei Kovalev had a goal and two assists and Saku Koivu also tallied for Montreal, which has won all four meetings between the teams by a combined score of 15-6.
"The last two games have been good for us," Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau said. "We knew what team they have and it was a big weekend for us. It a big confidence boost for us to come out of the weekend like this."
All-Star Mike Richards had a shorthanded tally and defenseman Braydon Coburn and Riley Cote scored for the Flyers, who have lost a season-high seven straight games (0-7-0).
"We know that we're capable of winning hockey games," Richards said. "We've done a great job earlier in the year. Right now, we have to come together as a team."
The Flyers' loss combined with the win by the New York Rangers (30-24-7) over San Jose, dropped Philadelphia (30-23-5) into seventh place in the Eastern Conference
"Teams are playing well and are climbing, and we are dropping," Flyers center R.J. Umberger said. "Two-and-a-half weeks ago we thought that we could compete with Ottawa for the top seed in the East. Now, we're fighting for our lives."
By contrast, the Canadiens (39-19-9) have moved into a first-place tie with the idle Ottawa Senators (34-20-5) in the Northeast Division.
"I like the way we have been playing since the start of the season," Carbonneau said. "We have been able to play four lines pretty consistently. Tonight, we used six defensemen and I thought it paid off well.
"Our was to make the playoffs and that is still our goal. Sometimes, you are a bit ahead of the curve but we'll try to keep our feet on the ground and keep working until the end."
Ryder snapped a 2-2 tie by jamming home a rebound just 2:15 into the second period, and Koivu doubled Montreal's advantage by tallying on a two-man advantage with 9:50 remaining.
Koivu's goal seemed to be a metaphor for how things have been going lately for the Flyers. An outstretched Antero Niittymaki desperately tried to stop Koivu's shot with his stick, but it had already crossed the line before the Finnish goaltender could corral it.
"The guys have battled and have responded," Canadiens defenseman Michael Komisarek said. "The guys have been able to create opportunities offensively and spent time in their zone and force them to take penalties. Our forwards did a great job."
"You can't put the number one power play in the league on the ice, especially a 5-on-3 for two minutes," Richards said. "Give Montreal a lot of credit, they capitalized on a lot of their chances."
After Maxim Lapierre added an empty-net goal with 84 seconds left, Cote scored his first career goal with 19 seconds remaining for the final margin.
The Canadiens took a 2-1 lead with 1.2 seconds to go in the first period after Francis Bouillon skated end-to-end and fired a wrist shot past Niittymaki for his first goal in 74 games.
Coburn tied the game at 2-2 just 34 seconds into the second, but Ryder and Koivu quickly responded.
Niittymaki stopped 28 shots for the Flyers, who have lost six straight to the Canadiens dating to last season.
- MONTREAL: 5
Feb 17 9:40 PM
PHILADELPHIA 3 0:21 LEFT, 3RD PRD
Canadiens vs. FlyersFeb 17 9:39 PM
3RD PRD: MON - (EN) MAXIM LAPIERRE 4 (ANDREI MARKOV) 18:36
Canadiens vs. FlyersFeb 17 9:36 PM
- MONTREAL: 4
End of 2nd
Feb 17 8:47 PM
2ND PRD: MON - (PP) SAKU KOIVU 12 (ANDREI MARKOV, ALEXEI KOVALEV)
Canadiens vs. FlyersFeb 17 8:26 PM
2ND PRD: MON - MICHAEL RYDER 9 (ALEXEI KOVALEV, ANDREI MARKOV) 2:15
Canadiens vs. FlyersFeb 17 8:13 PM
2ND PRD: PHI - BRAYDON COBURN 5 (SCOTTIE UPSHALL, MIKE KNUBLE) 0:34
Canadiens vs. FlyersFeb 17 8:10 PM
- MONTREAL: 2
End of 1st
Feb 17 7:50 PM
1ST PRD: MON - FRANCIS BOUILLON 1 (UNASSISTED) 19:59
Canadiens vs. FlyersFeb 17 7:49 PM
1ST PRD: PHI - MIKE RICHARDS 23 (R.J. UMBERGER) 9:30
Canadiens vs. FlyersFeb 17 7:27 PM
1ST PRD: MON - SAKU KOIVU 11 (TOMAS PLEKANEC, ANDREI KOSTITSYN) 6:18
Canadiens vs. FlyersFeb 17 7:20 PM
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