Flyers 3, Canadiens 2

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MONTREAL (AP)—The Philadelphia Flyers rarely fall behind, and when they do, they’re never out of it.

Magnus Ragnarsson and John LeClair scored 2:06 apart late in the third period to lift Philadelphia to a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Monday night.

Ragnarsson scored his third of the season with 3:19 left to tie it at 2, and LeClair netted the winner at 18:47 when he tipped defenseman Eric Weinrich’s point shot past Mathieu Garon for his sixth goal.

The Flyers improved to 2-2-1-1 when trailing after two periods.

“We have a lot of confidence in all our players,” LeClair said. “We knew that if we stayed with it, hopefully we could turn things around. We didn’t try anything crazy to try to get back in it, we just stayed with it and it worked out for us.”

LeClair, a native of nearby St. Albans, Vt., has 30 goals and 17 assists in 32 career games against Montreal. The Canadiens traded him to the Flyers in 1995.

“It’s kind of one of those things that’s not explainable,” LeClair said. “It’s always fun to come back here and play, and you’ve got friends and family in the stands so that gives you a little bit extra boost, but we were fortunate tonight.”

Kim Johnsson also scored for the Flyers, who have lost just once in 17 games (13-1-3).

“That’s a good team that found a way to win,” Canadiens coach Claude Julien said.

Montreal, which had won each of the 10 previous games it led through two periods, ended a season-high five-game unbeaten streak (3-0-2).

“I thought they played really well,” LeClair said. “They were really jumping on their skates. They made it really hard for us out there, that’s for sure. It’s tough to lose a game like that when you’re on the other side.”

Pierre Dagenais assisted on Richard Zednik’s goal late in the second period, and scored his second of the season midway through the third to give the Canadiens a 2-1 lead.

“If it wasn’t our best game, it was close,” Julien said. “I consider it our best effort of the season. The only negative was the final score.”

Jeff Hackett made his second straight start, with Robert Esche out because of a pulled groin, and stopped 36 Montreal shots. Hackett, who made 39 saves Saturday in a tie at Boston, came up short on both goals he allowed Monday.

Hackett was caught out of position on Zednik’s goal late in the second after he failed to stop Dagenais’ shot along the boards behind the net. Mike Ribeiro got to the puck in the left corner, and fired a centering pass that Zednik redirected into the net from the right side as Hackett tried to scramble back.

Johnsson scored his second goal of the season from the slot after taking a pass from Tony Amonte, who set up the play off a give-and-go with Jeremy Roenick.

Midway through the third, Dagenais came out of the right corner along the goal line and fired a wrist shot over Hackett’s left shoulder from a severe angle for his second goal of the season.

“It took us a while to get going, and Montreal had a day off so they were really hungry,” Hackett said. “I thought they were outstanding. That’s the best I’ve seen them play in a while. They deserved a better fate.”

Canadiens goalie Mathieu Garon made 28 saves, including a big pad save onAmonte, moments after Johnsson scored early in the third to tie it at 1.

Notes

Five of the six Flyers on the ice when LeClair scored were former Canadiens, including Hackett, Weinrich, defenseman Eric Desjardins and right wing Mark Recchi. … Flyers G Antero Niittymaki backed up Hackett, appearing in an NHL lineup for the first time. … Canadiens D Stephane Quintal served his one-game suspension for attempting to knee Carolina’s Bob Boughner during a fight Saturday. … Zednik, who missed Montreal’s last game due to the birth ofhis daughter, scored his seventh goal in nine games.

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Three Stars

  Game Winning Goal
J. LeClair J. LeClair
Philadelphia Flyers
Scored at 18:47 of 3rd

Goaltending

Goalie Team Shot Save
Jeff Hackett Phi 38 36
Mathieu Garon LA 31 28