The Flyers, who eliminated the Canadiens from the playoffs in five games last spring, ended a seven-game losing streak against Montreal in the regular season, including a 5-3 loss at the Wachovia Center on Oct. 13.
“A lot was made of it last year going into the playoffs, but we knew that we could win in here,” Philadelphia coach John Stevens said. “We came in last year in Game 5 and ended up winning the series here. It was just a great atmosphere to be part of a hockey game—this building’s electric and I thought it was tonight.”
Carter, whose 11th goal put the Flyers up 2-0, was focused on the team’s recent success that saw it wrap up a three-game road trip with five of a possible six points (2-0-1), rather than ending its regular-season skid against Montreal.
“That’s just the media blowing it up—no offense, but we go game by game and obviously we want to win every game,” Carter said. “They’re a tough opponent and we’ve had some success here lately and hopefully we can keep it going.”
Martin Biron stopped 24 shots, carrying a shutout bid just short of the midway point in the third period.
Upshall opened the scoring with his second goal of the season 5:30 into the second period, and Carter got his team-leading 11th goal at 15:36 to increase the lead to 2-0.
Jaroslav Halak made 29 saves for Montreal, which lost consecutive games in regulation for the first time this season. The Canadiens have one win in their last five games (1-3-1) after an 8-1-1 start.
“I think we’re relying too much on what we did last year, both as a team and as individual players,” coach Guy Carbonneau said. “We did some nice things last year, but last year is last year. When you start a new season you don’t start with 20 goals or 13 assists or 40 assists, you start at zero. You have to work for those points, and right now we have guys who think they’re working, but they’re not working.”
Montreal learned earlier in the day that defenseman Mike Komisarek is sidelined for at least a week and will not accompany the team on its upcoming three-game road trip. Komisarek sustained an undisclosed upper body injury during a fight with Milan Lucic on Thursday night in a 6-1 loss in Boston.
Flyers captain Mike Richards made a fine play to allow Philadelphia to break the scoreless tie early in the second when he directed a hard pass toward the goalmouth from the left side. Upshall redirected the puck past Halak for his first goal in 10 games.
“I knew (Upshall) was out there,” Richards said. “I knew he was going to the net and I just wanted to give him time to get there, and I threw it there and he made a great play to tip it over his glove.”
The Flyers increased their lead to two on another nice setup later in the middle period as Simon Gagne fed the puck past Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov to Carter, who drove the net and beat Halak with a shot over the Montreal goalie’s glove into the top right corner.
“He was holding his glove pretty low, there, and I got all of it,” Carter said.
A potential third Philadelphia goal was waved off immediately at the end of the period. A video review confirmed that time had already expired when Gagne’s shot went in.
The Flyers had gone 0-7-0 against the Canadiens in the regular season since a 4-2 win at the Bell Centre on Nov. 25, 2006. … As part of their centennial season celebrations, the Canadiens wore vintage jerseys based on the team’s white sweater of the mid-1940s that features a blue band around the middle. … Montreal had not lost consecutive games in regulation since Feb. 21-23, when it lost two in a row to Pittsburgh and Columbus.