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Montreal at Philadelphia

Flyers head into All-Star break with NHL-best 33 wins

CBSSports.com wire reports
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PHILADELPHIA -- The Flyers needed a bit of luck and a big sigh of relief to make the playoffs last season.

This year's team has no plan to wait until the final day to clinch a bid -- the Flyers intend to keep the No. 1 seed they've earned with a stellar first half.

Jeff Carter, Claude Giroux and Kimmo Timonen scored power-play goals and the Philadelphia Flyers head into the All-Star break leading the league in wins after a 5-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday.

The Flyers' 10-2-0 record in January has catapulted them to an NHL-best 33 victories. A year ago, the Flyers clinched a playoff spot in the last game of the season. They'll return next week with a No. 1 seed in the East in sight.

Daniel Carcillo and Danny Briere also scored for the Flyers, who earned their 1,000th home victory.

"Certainly, because of the break you want to end on the right note," coach Peter Laviolette said. "You can't do anything tomorrow, we're not practicing, there aren't any games to be played. There's no redemption available."

None needed.

The Flyers won for the 301st time at the arena now known as the Wells Fargo Center. They won 696 games at the Spectrum, home of the Broad Street Bullies, and three at the Colisee De Quebec, according to the Flyers.

The Flyers are the first expansion-era team to reach that milestone.

"This achievement is a true testament to the many men who have put on the orange and black and proudly wore the Flyers famous logo for nearly 45 years," founder and chairman Ed Snider said. "This milestone is representative of Flyers hockey. We want our home to be a very tough place for our opponents to play."

It's a nice feat for the franchise.

But what this year's deep team really cares about is snagging that No. 1 record in the Eastern Conference. The Flyers showed why they're tops so far this season, with a potent scoring punch, solid play in net and Chris Pronger tied a career high with four assists and led stout play on the blue line.

The Flyers are 33-12-5 for 71 points through 50 games, the third-best record through 50 games in franchise history.

The Flyers scored three goals on their first 11 shots and easily handled Montreal. Sergei Bobrovsky was sensational in net with 29 saves.

Carter and Timonen scored 63 seconds apart on 5-on-3 opportunities in the first period against Carey Price and the Flyers cruised from there.

With the penalty box stuffed with Canadiens, Carter turned his back to Price and slid a perfect pass from Mike Richards behind him for his 23rd goal.

Timonen wasted no time finishing off what was left on the clock of the two-man advantage. He corralled the puck against the boards, passed it to Pronger, then fired the return feed from the point past a stunned Price for a 2-0 lead.

"If you give a team like that a 5-on-3 for four minutes, they're going to get to you eventually," Price said. "That put us in a big hole, and it made it real tough to come back."

It was a night full of rare goals. Timonen and Carcillo each scored their third goals of the season. Montreal's David Desharnais also scored his third goal of the season.

Carcillo scored only 23 seconds into the second period and another sellout crowd was going wild.

Desharnais made it 3-1 when he spoiled Bobrovsky's bid for his first career shutout.

Bobrovsky, the 22-year-old rookie sensation, also made the save of the game.

A shot fired off the post and trickled behind him and toward the back of the net. Bobrovsky was on his back, swiped at the puck inches before it crossed the goal line and stopped a goal that would have made it 3-2.

The play stood after review -- Laviolette nodded at the overhead replay as if there was no doubt.

Laviolette is headed to the All-Star Game as co-coach of one of the teams. Giroux, along with Briere, are also going to Sunday's game in Raleigh, N.C.

Giroux ended the first half of the season on a high with his 19th goal. He led the Flyers to a 3 for 5 night on the power play -- Montreal was 0 for 8.

Mathieu Darche scored his ninth goal late in the third to pull within 4-2 but it was too late.

"Tonight was a big game and a big loss," Canadiens forward Brian Gionta said. "But we're up to the break now, and we'll just have to use that our advantage, and then come back, ready to go."

Briere scored an empty-netter in the final seconds for his 26th goal.

Bobrovsky won his sixth straight start, and has given the Flyers every reason to believe he can carry them deep into the postseason.

"The confidence is the most important thing for me so I can calm down and play to the best of my abilities and keep winning," he said.

Sounds like the Flyers' motto.

Notes

  • Philadelphia's Feb. 13 game against the Los Angeles Kings has been changed to a 3 p.m start.
  • Flyers F James van Riemsdyk sat out with a lower-body injury.
  • Giroux has points in the past seven games.
  • Pronger last had four assists Dec. 31, 2005, for Edmonton at Calgary.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Sergei Bobrovsky makes one of his 29 saves as the Flyers earn the 1,000th home win in franchise history. (AP)
Sergei Bobrovsky makes one of his 29 saves as the Flyers earn the 1,000th home win in franchise history. (AP)

Scoreboard
Montreal (27-18-5)0112
Philadelphia  (33-12-5) «2215
Three Stars
C. Giroux
PHI


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
C. Pronger
PHI


Goals: 0
Assist(s): 4
M. Richards
PHI


Goals: 0
Assist(s): 2
Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
17:42Power Play - Jeff Carter (23), Wrist Shot. Assist: Richards, Pronger
18:45Power Play - Kimmo Timonen (3), Slap Shot. Assist: Pronger, Richards
2ND PERIOD
23.0 - Daniel Carcillo (3), Backhand Shot. Assist: Pronger
12:43 - David Desharnais (3), Wrist Shot. Assist: Gill, Darche
16:52Power Play - Claude Giroux (19), Wrist Shot. Assist: Hartnell, Briere
3RD PERIOD
15:17 - Mathieu Darche (8), Wrist Shot. Assist: Moen, Hamrlik
19:35 - Danny Briere (26), Empty Net. Assist: Pronger, Bobrovsky
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
03:33Gomez, 2 min, Cross-Checking
03:33Carcillo, 2 min, Roughing
07:23Zherdev, 2 min, Slashing
16:03Kostitsyn, 2 min, Slashing
17:14Spacek, 2 min, Holding
17:34Subban, 2 min, Slashing
2ND PERIOD
02:31O'Donnell, 2 min, Interference
08:48Desharnais, 2 min, Slashing
15:11Desharnais, 2 min, Bench - Too Many Men on the Ice
19:43Meszaros, 2 min, Slashing
3RD PERIOD
05:48Nodl, 2 min, Slashing
07:51Pronger, 2 min, Roughing
11:24Pouliot, 2 min, Interference
11:24Pronger, 2 min, Roughing
11:24Carcillo, 10 min, Misconduct
13:13Hartnell, 2 min, Boarding
19:48Meszaros, 2 min, Slashing
Shots On Goal
 123T
MON915731
PHI1016935
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Carey Price58:46304
Sergei Bobrovsky59:26292
Game Information
Attendance - 19878
Referees - Chris Rooney, Ian Walsh
Linesmen - Pierre Champoux, Brad Kovachik
 
Other Games
NYI 0 Final
Pitt 1
Ana 3 Final
Colu 2
Fla 4 Final
NYR 3
Buf 3 Final
OT
Ott 2
Tor 0 Final
TB 2
Min 4 Final
Chi 2
Edm 4 Final
Pho 3