(Sports Network) - It was the Flyers who got the best of the Canadiens in last year's Eastern Conference finals and the way the two clubs have played so far this season, a potential rematch could be on the horizon.
First, Montreal and Philadelphia will engage in the first of four scheduled regular-season matchups tonight as they do battle at the Bell Centre. It's a game that you can catch on TSN if you live in the Canadiens viewing region starting at 7pm et.
It didn't seem likely that the Flyers and Canadiens would battle for the right to represent the East in the Stanley Cup Finals as Philadelphia came into the postseason as the seventh seed and Montreal the eighth. However, the Flyers pulled off upsets of the Devils and Bruins to reach the conference title game, while the Habs knocked off the Capitals and Penguins.
The two teams split their 2009-10 regular-season meetings and Montreal went into that series having won four of six and 11 of the last 14 regular-season meetings between the clubs, but Philly won the series in five games, taking all three games at home while splitting two at the Bell Centre.
Philadelphia went on to lose to Chicago in six games in the Cup championship but are looking like a team that will challenge for a title yet again. The Flyers are 9-0-1 in their last 10 games and lead the Atlantic Division with 26 points, one back of the Capitals for the most in the conference.
Montreal is also looking like a contender, having won three straight. The Canadiens lead the Northeast Division with 23 points and will try to make a statement at home tonight.
"[Tuesday] we're playing a team that's above us in the standings and we all know they're a very good team that seems to be playing well as of late. It'll be a good test for us and we're excited about it," Montreal forward Mike Cammalleri told Montreal's website. "I think we all remember who we lost to. Maybe that adds a little something to the game. But all in all, it's a long way away from the playoffs and you're just trying to get wins for this year."
Cammalleri was one of seven different goal scorers in Saturday's 7-2 victory over Carolina and his fourth goal of the year ended an eight-game goal-scoring drought. Tomas Plekanec ended with a goal and three assists, while Brian Gionta and Andrei Kostitsyn joined Cammalleri with a goal and an assist.
Plekanec has a goal and seven assists in his last four games.
Carey Price made 28 saves for Montreal, which will try to match a season high with four straight wins first set from Oct. 23-29. Price is 3-0-0 with a 1.00 goals-against average and shutout in his last three starts and 5-1-0 with a 1.90 GAA versus the Flyers in the regular season.
Like last year's Eastern Conference finals, the Habs will have to face the Flyers without their top defenseman in Andrei Markov, who exited Saturday's game with an apparent right knee injury. Markov hurt the same knee during last year's second-round playoff series versus Pittsburgh and missed the rest of the postseason and the first three weeks of this season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ACL.
Alexandre Picard is expected to replace Markov in the lineup tonight.
Montreal could use Markov tonight as Philadelphia is outscoring its opponents 18-4 over its last three games and hasn't lost in regulation since Oct. 25. The Flyers' current 9-0-1 run is its best since an 11-game stretch (9-0-2) from Dec. 17, 2005-Jan. 6, 2006.
Captain Mike Richards has been red-hot over Philly's 10-game run. He has a point in nine of those games, amassing seven goals and six assists in that span. He has five tallies in his last three games and turned in his second straight two-goal game last night, a 5-1 home win over Ottawa.
"We are starting to get a lot of the bounces. In the beginning of the year, there was a lot of posts and pucks just seemed to be slipping off sticks," Richards said. "You are going to have that in a year, where you can't seem to find a balance then you have stretches where pucks just end up on the sticks so that's a big part in it."
Richards also assisted on Claude Giroux's team-leading 10th goal of the season for his 300th career point, while Giroux added two assists of his own. Daniel Briere added his ninth goal of the season and Darroll Powe also scored.
Rookie Sergei Bobrovsky has been in net for each of Philadelphia's last 10 games and he made 28 saves last night as the Flyers unleashed a season-high 46 shots.
Philadelphia, which has won seven straight at home and is 3-0-1 in its last four on the road, lost forward Dan Carcillo to a lower-body injury and the second period and he is expected to be sidelined for the next two weeks.