PHILADELPHIA — Jaroslav Halak made
35 saves, and Tomas Plekanec scored the only goal in the Montreal
Canadiens' key 1-0 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday night.
Montreal moved two points ahead of
Philadelphia and Boston in the tight Eastern Conference playoff race.
The Flyers lost for the second straight night and have just one win in
eight games (1-6-1).
The Flyers and Canadiens entered the
night in a three-way tie with idle Boston for sixth place in the East.
Philadelphia is only two points above the postseason cutoff.
Brian Boucher finished with 22 saves
for Philadelphia, which has dropped nine of 11 overall. Boucher, one of
six goalies used by the Flyers this season, has only one win in his last
Plekanec gave Montreal the lead it
protected all night when he took a blind centering pass from Andrei
Kostitsyn and beat Boucher 9:25 into the game for his 24th goal.
Halak allowed five goals on 17 shots
against the Flyers on Feb. 13, but was much stronger in the rematch. His
best sequence came late in the second period when he made consecutive
saves on James van Riemsdyk and Mike Richards. Just seconds later, van
Riemsdyk skated in on a semi-breakaway and was denied again.
Halak did benefit from a fortunate
bounce with seven minutes left when a wrister by van Riemsdyk caromed off
his shoulder and trickled just past the right post.
Philadelphia had a goal disallowed
with 15:38 remaining because van Riemsdyk used a high stick to chop a
floating puck into the net. The goal was immediately waved off on the
ice, and the call was upheld after a video review.
Flyers C Jeff Carter (foot) is
scheduled to have an MRI on Wednesday. He is expected to return in time
for the playoffs. The best-case scenario for injured Flyers G Michael
Leighton is "at least three weeks," general manager Paul Holmgren said.
Canadiens RW Sergei Kostitsyn missed the game because of a lower-body
injury. Flyers D Chris Pronger played in his 1,100th NHL game. Flyers LW
Dan Carcillo served the final game of his two-game suspension for
high-sticking New Jersey's David Clarkson on Sunday.