The Philadelphia Flyers know they have plenty of work left in order to get into the Eastern Conference playoff picture, but their performances the last two games seem to indicate they're heading in the right direction.
Philadelphia seeks a fifth consecutive home victory over the Montreal Canadiens as it completes a five-game homestand Wednesday night.
The Flyers (15-17-3) aren't far behind the East's final playoff spot, though they're running out of time to secure their sixth straight postseason appearance with only 13 regular-season games remaining.
They've won two straight after a 0-2-2 stretch, though, beating Boston 3-1 on Saturday before Sunday's 5-4 come-from-behind overtime win over Washington.
Kimmo Timonen scored with 9.5 seconds remaining in regulation before Ruslan Fedotenko netted the OT goal.
"Every win, every point right now is crucial," Fedotenko said. "We need to focus on the next game and make sure we get the next two points."
Philadelphia definitely possesses the intensity necessary to make a run. After captain Claude Giroux, who scored a power play goal in the third, was checked hard Monday, Jakub Voracek came to his defense and picked up 19 penalty minutes as a result of his first NHL fight.
While his teammates lauded that effort, Voracek simply is focused on helping his team make the playoffs.
``Thirteen games left is a lot of games,' Voracek said. ``We haven't been on a hot streak yet. Maybe we'll start one now.'
Philadelphia has outscored Montreal 15-6 while winning the last four matchups at the Wells Fargo Center, but the Canadiens enter this matchup with one of the NHL's best road marks at 12-3-2.
Montreal (23-7-5) holds a slim advantage over Boston for the Northeast Division lead and has won three straight following Monday's 4-1 win over Carolina.
Max Pacioretty netted two goals after scoring just once over his previous 12 games.
"It takes a bounce and that's how it goes,' Pacioretty said. ``Different people step up every night for this team and I guess (it) was my chance.'
Montreal also killed all five penalties and has held opponents to 2 for 19 with the man advantage over its last six games.
"That was an aspect of our game that we were not pleased with,' coach Michel Therrien said. "Guys know their responsibilities and right now they're doing a good job."
Both teams went 0 for 4 on the power play, but Pacioretty and Brian Gionta had two assists each in Montreal's 4-1 home win over Philadelphia on Feb. 16.
The Flyers, 2-1-1 on this homestand, had won six of the previous seven meetings, though, and hope to carry over their new-found confidence.
"(Confidence is) something I think we've been lacking all year," winger Matt Read said. "You come in the locker room and you're just having a little bit more fun. Hopefully we can keep having fun in this locker room, find ways to win hockey games, and make a run for a top eight position."
Ilya Bryzgalov made 25 saves Monday and could be in net for the Flyers for this contest despite being 1-3-1 with a 3.21 goals-against average in five career starts versus the Canadiens.
Montreal might counter with Carey Price, who has stopped 52 of 53 shots while winning his last two starts. However, he's 1-5-0 with a 3.38 GAA in his last six starts versus Philadelphia.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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