for this game

Aebischer solid again as Canadiens edge Flyers

Oct 12, 2006 - 2:28 AM PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- Even though it's still early in the season, there already could be a goaltender controversy in Montreal.

David Aebischer stopped 13 of 14 third-period shots and Michael Ryder, Alexei Kovalev and Chris Higgins scored to lift the Canadiens to a 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.

Aebischer, who was supposed to be Cristobal Huet's backup this season, made 27 saves in his second straight solid performance. He stopped 36 shots in the first three periods and three of four in a 3-2 shootout victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.

"Our defense did a great job on the penalty kill and even strength," Aebischer said. "They did a good job of keeping their shots to the outside. We tried to communicate as much as possible and it seems to get better and better each game."

The Flyers again struggled on the power play, going 0-for-8, and they are 3-for-32 this season.

Aebischer hopes his performances will lead to an increase in starts.

"Each time that I go on the ice I want to play well and win," he said. "If you play well, the rest of it will come with it."

Ryder gave the Canadiens a 1-0 lead 38 seconds into the first period.

"It's not fun when they score in the first minute, but you just have to get over it," Niittymaki said. "I was sitting back at the goal line and the whole upstairs was wide open. Ryder can shoot the puck pretty well."

Kovalev scored the eventual game-winner when he streaked down the left side and snapped a wrist shot past the glove hand of Philadelphia goaltender Antero Niittymaki for a 2-0 lead at 6:18 of the second period. Niittymaki finished with 20 saves.

"It was a give and go," Kovalev said of the game-winner. "(Tomas) Plekanec saw me in the slot and gave it to me. I tried to release it as fast as I could. They had blocked my shots for most of the game, but that one went through."

Philadelphia's only goal came when R.J. Umberger stood at the corner of the Canadiens' crease and banged home a rebound off a shot by Jeff Carter. Chris Higgins sealed Montreal's triumph with an empty-netter with 19 seconds left.

"We didn't play the way we needed to play to beat this team," Philadelphia coach Ken Hitchcock said. "They allowed us to stay in the perimeter so that's where we played. It's recognizing the opponent and their game, and then going out there and doing it.

"We had to dig in and play a deep game, but we wanted to make plays in front of them. Once they got a 1-0 lead, they just played four guys back the whole game. This is a frustrating loss today. We could have really built something from the momentum of the past two games. We didn't."

Philadelphia's Peter Forsberg thinks his club's power play never had a chance to get any momentum going.

"On every breakout, they did the same thing," Forsberg said. "We didn't get to set up and do the things we should do. I give credit to them. They played well and sat back and gave us a hard time generating chances."

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