Canadiens rely on defense in third straight winBy Sean Farrell, The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Sat, Feb 16, 2013 11:50 PM EST
MONTREAL -- Pressed into service with No. 1 goalie Carey Price sidelined by the flu, Montreal backup Peter Budaj was well protected by the Canadiens and given plenty of offensive support. Budaj stopped 18 shots for his first win, Brendan Gallagher had a goal and an assist, and the Canadiens extended their winning streak to three with a 4-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night. "I think our team played a great defensive game and helped me out a lot," said Budaj, who lost his two previous starts. "I didn't have much work. It was a great team effort and the guys played really well in front of me." David Desharnais, Tomas Plekanec and Rene Bourque also scored for the Canadiens, who swept a two-game road trip to Florida, including a 1-0 overtime win over the Panthers on Thursday night. Montreal improved to 8-4-1 one week after losing 6-0 to Toronto. "You can't win every game," Montreal defenseman Andrei Markov said. "We knew we had a bad game last Saturday so we tried to regroup and play better. We played a simple game on the road and we played a strong game tonight. That was a good team win." Danny Briere scored his third goal for Philadelphia, which has lost three of four, including 5-3 in New Jersey on Friday night. Brian Boucher had 25 saves in his first start of the season for the Flyers, who have lost eight of 10 overall on the road. "We've got to play 60 minutes and compete," Flyers captain Claude Giroux said. "I mean, we've got guys in here that care. It's not acceptable the way we played tonight. It's not just one, two or three guys, it's the whole team." Plekanec restored Montreal's two-goal advantage with his team-leading seventh goal 4:32 into the third period. Gallagher, who left the game with an upper-body injury midway through the third, opened the scoring with his fifth goal 8:53 in. The 20-year-old rookie shifted around veteran defenseman Kimmo Timonen to beat Boucher with a shot from the left side. Canadiens captain Brian Gionta acknowledged comparisons between himself and the diminutive Gallagher, who is listed in the team's media guide at 5 feet 8. "He's a small guy who works hard," said Gionta, who is listed at 5-7. "He's a great forechecker, he puts a lot of pressure on their D and forces turnovers, and he's got a knack for finding ways to get open, and a scoring touch." Max Pacioretty, who assisted on Montreal's first two goals, also left the game with an upper-body injury. Pacioretty crashed into the right post 11:52 into the third when he has hauled down by Timonen, who was called for holding. Gallagher went to the dressing room earlier in the third after he was hit by Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn. Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said both Gallagher and Pacioretty would be re-evaluated on Sunday. Montreal outshot Philadelphia 12-2 in the first period. "We don't seem to be finding our way in the offensive zone," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. Desharnais' fourth goal 1:15 into the second period made it 2-0. Briere drew the Flyers within one at 13:56 when his shot caromed in off Markov. Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban sprawled to stop Tye McGinn's shot at an open net moments earlier, after Budaj turned over the puck behind the goal. Budaj dived to his right to rob McGinn, who fanned on a shot at an open net with 3:35 left in the third period. Montreal defenseman Alexei Emelin was in pain as he went to the bench after a hit by Giroux with just over two minutes remaining. Canadiens forward Colby Armstrong was struck in the face by teammate Raphael Diaz's clearing attempt shortly before Bourque was awarded his fifth goal with 1:04 remaining after the Montreal left winger was hauled down by Jakub Voracek as he drove in on an empty net. NOTES: Timonen was back in the Flyers' lineup after leaving Friday night's game with a lower-body injury. ... Boucher, who is in his fourth stint with the Flyers' organization, stopped nine of 10 shots in a relief appearance in Philadelphia's 5-2 loss Monday in Toronto. Chosen 22nd overall by the Flyers in the 1995 NHL draft, the Woonsocket, R.I., native played 103 games with Philadelphia from 1999 to 2002 and 67 from 2009 to 2011. He also played 42 games for the AHL Philadelphia Phantoms in 2007-08. ... Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov had started 14 of Philadelphia's first 15 games. ... Flyers defenseman Kurtis Foster did not dress and Erik Gustafsson made his season debut. Gustafsson played 33 games with the Flyers during the last two seasons. ... The Canadiens recalled goalie Robert Mayer from AHL Hamilton earlier Saturday. He dressed as Budaj's backup. ... Price made 26 saves in Thursday's 1-0 overtime win at Florida for his 17th career shutout, his first of the season. ... Montreal's Brandon Prust drew a minor penalty for diving 2:55 in after he was hit by Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn, who was called for interference.
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