If the Philadelphia Flyers are to avoid their first five-game losing streak in nearly four years, they’ll have to do it against a hot opponent.
The Flyers host the Montreal Canadiens, who have won the first three games of a six-game road trip.
Philadelphia has lost its last four games after a 4-2 defeat to the New York Islanders on Saturday. The Flyers have not dropped five in a row since March 28-April 4, 2002.
“The game is on the line, and we took two poor penalties in the third period,” said Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock of Petr Nedved’s four-minute penalty for high-sticking and Joni Pitkanen’s cross-checking minor. “We competed at a high level, we just got beat.”
Mike Knuble scored his 26th goal of the season in the loss, snapping a personal six-game goal scoring drought. Knuble is only four goals shy of his career high of 30, set in 2002-03 with the Boston Bruins.
Philadelphia’s 33 losses are its most since losing 39 during the 1993-94 season. While that team did not make the playoffs, the current Flyers are in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, four five points behind Buffalo.
The Flyers also need to address a drought against the Canadiens. They have lost three straight games to Montreal for the first time since 2001, getting outscored 13-5 in the process.
The Canadiens scored four unanswered third-period goals in a 6-2 win over the defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday. Montreal has earned at least one point in eight straight games, going 6-0-2 during the stretch.
“We came out strong and ended strong,” said Montreal’s Richard Zednik, who started the scoring outburst with the game-winner. “You can’t ask for much better hockey than that. I thought we really showed a lot of character tonight, by sticking to our guns.”
Huet has won four of his last five starts, the loss coming Feb. 11 in a shootout against Atlanta. He has a 1.67 goals-against average with one shutout and a .943 save percentage in the last three games.
Huet also made 25 saves in Montreal’s 5-0 win over the Flyers on Feb. 5.
The Canadiens hold the eighth and final playoff spot in the East as they try to reach the postseason in back-to-back years since the 1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons.
Montreal is two points behind Tampa Bay for seventh, and leads ninth-place Atlanta by four points.