PHILADELPHIA – Scottie Upshall wanted to knock down the flying puck and clear some room in front of Philadelphia’s net.
The Flyers forward did use his stick and deflect Michael Komisarek’s shot – only the puck fell right into the net for Montreal’s go-ahead goal.
“For some reason, those tips never seem to go in the other net,” Upshall said. “They go into yours.”
Roman Hamrlik and Komisarek scored goals 44 seconds apart in the third period, helping the Montreal Canadiens rally to beat the winless Philadelphia Flyers 5-3 on Monday night.
The Canadiens could have used some of those breaks in last season’s playoffs when they were the top seed in the Eastern Conference and were promptly bounced by the Flyers in the second round.
“Going into the third period being down to the team that knocked us out last year, and finding a way to win, that definitely says a lot about the guys on the team and should give us more confidence,” Komisarek said.
Flyers goalie Martin Biron was a post-season star last season, but his early struggles this season are one reason why they have dropped their first two games – both at the Wachovia Center.
Jeff Carter and Mike Richards scored the final two goals of the second to lift the Flyers to a 2-1 lead going into the third.
Hamrlik, though, erased the lead when he took a nifty pass from Alex Kovalev and slid the puck past Biron from the left slot.
Komisarek then gave Montreal the lead for good, when his shot from the point knocked off Upshall’s stick and over Biron to make it 3-2. Robert Lang scored with 6:20 left for a 4-2 lead.
“There’s no excuse when you give up three goals in the third period and give a team a chance to get back in like that,” Biron said. “It should never happen.”
Biron was benched late in the first period in Saturday’s opener against the Rangers after he allowed four fast goals. Biron solidified himself as the Flyers’ No. 1 goalie last season when he took them to the Eastern Conference finals a year after they posted the worst record in the NHL.
“The first game is kind of a write-off for me,” Flyers coach John Stevens said. “I thought he was much better tonight. He looked like his old self, made a couple of big saves.”
The Flyers need him to regroup on a tough three-game road trip or risk getting buried early in the standings. Philadelphia is already a whopping 10 points behind the New York Rangers in the Atlantic Division standings.
“It’s too early in the season. A lot can still happen,” Flyers forward Simon Gagne said.
Gagne, who’s looked sharp early after missing most of last season with a concussion, scored his second goal of the season to slice the deficit to one. He scored on the power play, knocking in a rebound off the skate of Carey Price.
Steve Begin added an empty-netter in the final minute.
Price made 29 saves for Montreal. Price was 3-0 with a 1.34 GAA against the Flyers last season, then went 1-3 with a 4.13 GAA against them in the playoffs.
The Canadiens are 7-0-1 in their past eight regular-season games in Philadelphia.
“It’s in the back of your mind that it’s still the team that put us out last year and you’re going to have a little bit of a grudge, but it’s a new year,” Price said.
After a scoreless first period, Andrei Kostitsyn scored only 54 seconds into the next on a snap shot on the glove side. The scoring opportunity was created when Richards was hit at the blue line, freeing the puck.
Carter tied the score less than two minutes later, and Richards added his second goal of the season when he ripped in the puck on the power play.
“A lot of people are talking about Montreal as the ‘Pride of the East,’ and I thought for 40 minutes we really showed that we could be a good team against a good team,” Stevens said. “That is the step we want to take.”
Notes: Several Flyers wore Phillies hats and sent videotaped messages of support for the NL East champions for Game 4 of the championship series against the L.A. Dodgers. “Let’s bring home the championship. This is your year,” Flyers centre Danny Briere said. .. Former Flyers great Bill Barber was hired as a scouting consultant. He spent the past six seasons as director of player personnel for the Tampa Bay Lightning. .. The Flyers acquired D Andrew Alberts from the Boston Bruins for a minor leaguer and a draft pick. .. Biron had an assist on Richards’ goal.