Montreal at Philadelphia

Canadiens forward Bulis explodes for career-best four goals

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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PHILADELPHIA -- Jan Bulis was more useful on the ice instead of wearing a suit and watching from the press box.

Bulis scored a career-best four goals and the Montreal Canadiens snapped a seven-game road losing streak with a 5-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night.

Bulis was a late addition to the lineup after coach Bob Gainey told him in the morning he'd be a healthy scratch.

"I had a meeting with Bob and he told me I wasn't playing," Bulis said. "Then I came back in the afternoon and he told me I was going to suit up. Luckily, it went well for me."

Steve Begin also scored for Montreal, which had lost 16 of its last 17 on the road and hadn't won away from home since beating Tampa Bay on Dec. 28.

Simon Gagne, Freddy Meyer and R.J. Umberger scored for Atlantic Division-leading Philadelphia, which has lost four of its last five games at home.

It could be a costly game for the Flyers, who lost star center Peter Forsberg and forward Branko Radivojevic to injuries. Forsberg left with a left groin strain in the second period and will be evaluated on Thursday. Radivojevic has a left ankle injury that could keep him out a while.

Forsberg, the team's leading scorer, missed two games last week with an abdominal muscle strain that initially was called a groin strain. He also sat out six games earlier this season with a right groin strain. A former league MVP, Forsberg has 62 points in his first season with the Flyers.

"I thought I was going to be fine and I aggravated it," Forsberg said. "It's a little worse than a week ago. I didn't feel a pop, but a sharp pain."

Philadelphia has been decimated by injuries this season and remained without captain Keith Primeau and defensemen Eric Desjardins, Kim Johnsson and Joni Pitkanen.

Without their top three defensemen, the Flyers had one of their sloppiest efforts.

"We made mistakes that it doesn't matter who we played," coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We made really poor decisions. We made poor reads."

Bulis, who came in with eight goals, redirected a centering pass from Niklas Sundstrom past goaltender Robert Esche to give Montreal a 4-3 lead 3:11 into the third period.

Begin stripped Gagne and beat Esche to make it 5-3. The Canadiens tied a season-low with just 15 shots.

Bulis, who never had a hat trick in the NHL, became the first Canadiens player to score four goals since Brian Savage, now with the Flyers, did it against the New York Islanders on Jan. 8, 1998.

"It was four goals on four shots," Bulis said. "A game like this sometimes is once in a career."

The Flyers took a 3-2 lead when a one-timer by Petr Nedved hit off a Montreal defender and Umberger's stick before sliding in between goalie Cristobal Huet's legs in the second period.

But a streaking Bulis scored off a nifty pass from Tomas Plekanec to tie it at 3.

"He didn't have a lot of time to think about it when I told him he was going to play and he was going to play with Radek Bonk and Niklas Sundstrom, who had a lot to do with his success," Gainey said.

Gagne scored his career-best 34th goal of the season to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead early. Forsberg, who has helped Gagne become one of the league's premier scorers, set it up by dumping a shot toward the net. Huet made the stop, but Gagne poked in the rebound.

Meyer ripped a shot from outside the left circle into the top corner to make it 2-0 a few minutes later. But the Canadiens answered just 1:12 later when Bulis scored to cut it to 2-1.

Craig Rivet's clearing pass from Montreal's zone took two wild bounces off the glass and ricocheted toward the net. Bulis outraced Flyers defenseman Chris Therien to the puck and lifted a shot over Esche's shoulder.

Bulis ripped a shot under Esche's arm to tie it at 2 in the second period.

"We did give up a lot of scoring chances, but I'm not going to say that a stronger game out of me wouldn't have helped us get it into overtime," said Esche, who made his second start since returning from a groin injury that sidelined him for a month.

Notes

  • Mario Lemieux was the last player to score four goals against the Flyers in a 9-3 win by Pittsburgh on March 20, 1993.
  • Gagne's previous best was 33 goals in the 2001-02 season.
  • Rivet had two assists for a career-best 19 this season.
  • Bulis had one goal in 20 previous games against the Flyers.
  • The Flyers had their 24th sellout in 26 games at the Wachovia Center.
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Jan Bulis looks confident after completing his four-goal night, a career-best for the Czech forward. (AP)
Jan Bulis looks confident after completing his four-goal night, a career-best for the Czech forward. (AP)

Scoreboard
Montreal  (22-19-6) «1225
Philadelphia (30-12-8)2103
Three Stars
J. Bulis
MON


Goals: 4
Assist(s): 0
C. Rivet
MON


Goals: 0
Assist(s): 2
R. Umberger
PHI


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
04:06Simon Gagne (34), Tip-In - Assists: Peter Forsberg and Randy Jones
07:05Freddy Meyer (4), Wrist Shot - Assists: Donald Brashear and Derian Hatcher
08:17Jan Bulis (9), Wrist Shot - Assist: Craig Rivet
2ND PERIOD
06:18Jan Bulis (10), Wrist Shot - Assists: Craig Rivet and Radek Bonk
13:21Power Play - R.J. Umberger (9), Tip-In - Assists: Petr Nedved and Randy Jones
16:03Power Play - Jan Bulis (11), Tip-In - Assists: Tomas Plekanec and Francis Bouillon
3RD PERIOD
03:11Jan Bulis (12), Tip-In - Assist: Niklas Sundstrom
08:37Steve Begin (10), Wrist Shot - Unassisted.
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
00:23Nedved: Holding - 2 min.
13:12Kovalev: Tripping - 2 min.
18:55Streit: High sticking - 4 min.
2ND PERIOD
02:11Nedved: High sticking - 2 min.
03:43Ribeiro: Holding - 2 min.
06:36Picard: Hooking - 2 min.
09:36Plekanec: Tripping - 2 min.
11:58Koivu: Hooking - 2 min.
14:09Brashear: Hooking - 2 min.
16:45Bonk: Hooking - 2 min.
3RD PERIOD
None
SHOTS ON GOAL
 123OTT
Montreal573 15
Philadelphia1287 27
 
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