The Canadiens only needed regulation time to put this one away after opening the season with two straight shootouts. They split those, and now head home with two victories on their trip.
Montreal owes this one to Aebischer, simply stellar in earning his second win of the season. The Flyers couldn’t slip one past on the power play, wasting all eight chances, including an 0-for-4 effort in the first period.
The Flyers trailed 2-0 going into the third, but R.J. Umberger scored nearly two minutes into the period to energize the crowd. It had no impact on Aebischer. He stopped 13 shots in the third and kept the Flyers winless at home this season (0-1-1).
Fittingly, the Flyers came up empty playing the final 1:53 on a power play. Chris Higgins added a short-handed, empty-netter in the final seconds.
Starting his third straight game, Antero Niittymaki had 20 saves for the Flyers. Even with a torn labrum in his left hip, Niittymaki seems to have edged out Robert Esche as Philadelphia’s No. 1 goalie. Niittymaki decided to have a cortisone shot instead of surgery to repair the tear, and it appears it was the smart move, even though he has only one win, so far.
The Canadiens scored only 38 seconds into the game on Ryder’s second goal of the season. Montreal jumped on a loose puck, and worked it around the boards before Ryder knocked it past Niittymaki.
The Flyers were all over Aebischer early in the period, firing one shot off the post, but wasted just under seven minutes of power-play time. They had a two-man advantage for 58 of those seconds, but Aebischer never flinched.
Montreal caught a break early in the second on Kovalev’s goal. The puck caromed to the left circle, and Nolan Bumgartner momentarily had his stick on it before the puck slid away from him. It came right to Kovalev who sent a shot over Niittymaki’s left shoulder to make it 2-0.
The Flyers skated off the ice to boos, a little quieter than usual because of a surprising number of empty seats.
Notes: Flyers D Mike Rathje was tentatively diagnosed with piriformis syndrome on Wednesday, and not a herniated disk as originally thought, trainer Jim McCrossin said. Rathje, sidelined since playing in the opener, will be examined again in the next two days to confirm the diagnosis. McCrossin said Rathje will only need an injection and not surgery. “In a best-case scenario, we are hoping Mike can be back on the ice late next week,” McCrossin said. The piriformis is one of the small muscles deep in the buttocks that rotates the leg outwards.