Instant Replay: Flyers 3, Canadiens 1

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Instant Replay: Flyers 3, Canadiens 1

BOX SCORE

They weren’t home for the holidays.

But the Flyers are home for a couple of games before the weekend ends and started things off with a 3-1 victory at Wells Fargo Center to run their season record here to 12-7-0.

Better yet, the win over Montreal kept the Flyers' home streak going -- 10 straight wins now, best since 2003-04.

The Flyers had a strong start with two goals to help out goalie Steve Mason and lengthened their lead to 3-0 in the second period on Michael Raffl’s rebound shot in the slot.

Truth is, they could have easily had a few more given their scoring chances on the power play as they kept the pressure on Canadiens goalie Peter Budaj.

Mason picked up his 18th win of the season.

Special teams
Mason had a very good save late into a Canadiens’ power play at the end of the opening period on Francis Bouillon from the left circle to retain his 2-0 lead. The Flyers' power play was very good at the start of the game but not very good as the game progressed. Sloppy, for one. The Flyers were 0 for 4 in the game.

Shorthanded
Wednesday marked the consecutive game the Flyers gave up a shorthanded goal. This time, Steve Downie was stripped of the puck along the boards outside the Flyers' blue line by Brian Gionta, who fed Tomas Plekanec for a partial breakaway snapper from 10 feet, making it 3-1 near the end of the second period.

Penalty kill
The Flyers have killed off 19 consecutive penalties over the past six games. They had a very nice kill late in the third as the Flyers iced the puck three times down the right side of the boards. No bad clears into the middle. Their PK units were very composed with the puck.

Fights
Zac Rinaldo lost a narrow decision to Brandon Prust in the second period.

Good start
Unlike Tuesday’s game in New Jersey, the Flyers scored early in this one and scored late in the same opening period for a 2-0 lead at intermission. There was terrific passing from Sean Couturier’s line that saw him pot a rebound past Peter Budaj at 6:27. Rinaldo made it 2-0 at 14:39 with a nice backhander that hit a Canadiens’ stick and wobbled inside the post.

The rush
The Flyers had several odd-man rushes that nearly resulted in goals. Scott Hartnell’s two-on-one near game’s end saw him get two chances to score and the puck and stick caught the right post.

Mated
Rinaldo came into the game with just one assist for the season. Now he has a goal to go along with it.

Home wins
This was the 10th consecutive home win for the Flyers, which last happened during the 2003-04 season. One item of note here: The Flyers' all-time record for consecutive home wins in regulation came in 1984-85 -- 14 straight.

Streaking
Andrej Meszaros had at least three points for the fourth consecutive game. This, however, was his first three-assist effort in a game since March 2, 2006 -– his rookie year in Ottawa. His career-high for points is four on April 9, 2011 against the Islanders.

Scratches
Forward Matt Read (concussion) and defenseman Erik Gustafsson (knee sprain); defenseman Hal Gill and forward Jay Rosehill were healthy.

Loose pucks
Wednesday afternoon, members of Berlin Polar Bears fan club brought their trophy to present championship rings to both Claude Giroux and Danny Briere. Berlin won their league title last season after the NHL lockout ended. Both Briere and Giroux competed for the club during the lockout. … The Flyers have a complete day off tomorrow and will not practice at Skate Zone.

Flyers-Wild 5 things: Road trip about to become a horror story?

Flyers-Wild 5 things: Road trip about to become a horror story?

Flyers (33-31-8) at Wild (44-22-6)
8 p.m. on CSN, CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports App; Pregame Live at 7:30

A four-game road trip takes a daunting turn Thursday night when the Flyers play the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center.

Here are five things to know for the matchup:

1. Hazardous road
You thought things were already ugly?

It looks like it could get much, much worse.

The Flyers now visit three of the NHL's top five clubs, starting with the Wild, followed by the Blue Jackets and the Penguins.

Those three are a combined 137-58-21 overall and 79-24-5 at home.

And it's safe to say the Flyers don't have any momentum heading into this gauntlet. They're coming off a 3-2 loss to the Jets, a non-contender decimated by injuries, and are 4-15-3 on the road since Dec. 19 with a minus-36 goal differential.

"We need to have a better effort," Steve Mason said postgame Tuesday. "We keep playing like this and we'll be mathematically eliminated before we know it."

2. Hole gets deeper
With a win over the Blue Jackets on Wednesday, the Maple Leafs moved past the Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division, making Boston the current leader for the Eastern Conference's second wild-card spot at 82 points.

The Flyers, with 74 points, trail the Bruins, Islanders (80), Lightning (77) and Hurricanes (75), who have a game in hand, as well. Oh, and the Panthers are just one point behind the Flyers.

Ten regular-season games remain and Dave Hakstol's group needs a miracle.

In search of some type of spark, the Flyers will strut out a different look against the Wild.

"We're running out of time here, so hopefully a couple line changes here gives us a little spark offensively," Matt Read said Wednesday. "We've still got to play better defensively, but you know it's kind of do-or-die right now. So hopefully chemistry clicks right away and things can start going off the bat."

3. A look at the Wild
Minnesota, which went 30-6-3 from the start of December to the end of February, has cooled off a bit but is still one of the most well-rounded teams in the NHL.

The Wild are 3-8-0 in March. For the season, however, they rank among the league's top 10 in goals per game (3.22 -- second), goals against per game (2.47 -- tied for sixth), power-play percentage (21.3 -- ninth) and penalty-kill percentage (83.8 -- seventh).

Mikael Granlund, Eric Staal, Nino Niederreiter and Jason Zucker all have 20 or more goals, while netminder Devan Dubnyk has been a top-five goalie at 37-18-3 with a 2.17 goals-against average and .927 save percentage.

4. Keep an eye on ...
Flyers: Jakub Voracek has no goals and an assist in his last six games for a minus-5 rating. When he's not providing offense, the Flyers predictably struggle. The good thing: Voracek owns 16 points in 18 career games against Minnesota.

Wild: Ryan Suter has been a stud for the Wild. The defenseman leads the NHL as a plus-34 and is third with 27:07 of ice time per game. The 32-year-old is Minnesota's backbone and the Wild are 21-6-1 in games that he has at least one point.

5. This and that
• Mason will make his 11th start in the last 12 games. He is 7-6-1 lifetime against Minnesota with a 2.59 goals-against average and .911 save percentage.

• Dubnyk is 2-4-1 with a 2.72 goals-against average and .917 save percentage in seven career games against the Flyers.

• Brandon Manning is back in the lineup for Michael Del Zotto (see Skate Update). Manning missed the last fives games with a shoulder injury.

• Former Flyer Ryan White is out for the Wild with an illness.

Flyers Skate Update: Brandon Manning back in lineup vs. Wild

Flyers Skate Update: Brandon Manning back in lineup vs. Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Facing a critical road game in Minnesota on Thursday night, the Flyers will welcome back a key defenseman to their lineup.

Brandon Manning, who has missed the past five games with a shoulder injury, will return and pair with Radko Gudas on the blue line.

“We’re playing a heavy team tonight,” coach Dave Hakstol said. “They’ve got some size up front. They’re a heavy team down low. So, we’ll need that pair to play that way. They’ve got to be an abrasive pair and they have to be on the heavy side defensively.”

Michael Del Zotto will be the odd man out as the Flyers have seven healthy defensemen again. Manning, with three goals and seven assists in 57 games this season, said he’s not worried about conditioning or the injury.

“I’m not too worried about that,” Manning said. “I’m feeling good, I’m feeling strong. Did some contact a few days ago and not even thinking about it.”

Toronto’s win in Columbus on Tuesday night allowed the Maple Leafs to surpass Boston in the Atlantic Division. The Bruins now hold the No. 8 spot in the playoff race with 82 points with nine games remaining. The Flyers are eight points back, with three teams in between, and 10 games left in the season.

Their play on the road is one big reason why the Flyers are out of a playoff spot. They are 12-20-4 on the road this season, tied for the second-fewest road wins among Eastern Conference teams. They’re winless in their last six road games (0-5-1) as they play the second game of a four-game trip.

“I don’t think there’s panic,” Manning said. “I think the focus is on each and every night, not really looking too far down the road. Obviously, the last couple weeks, we’ve probably given up points we don’t want to give up and put ourselves in a pretty tough spot. But we got a good group of guys in here, and guys that have played pro hockey long enough that know what it’s like.”

With Del Zotto's being scratched for Manning, Nick Schultz will play what could be his final game in the Xcel Energy Center, where he spent 10 seasons with the Wild. Schultz, a second-round draft pick by Minnesota in 2000, ranks second in franchise history with 743 games played.

Hakstol said Schultz’s history wasn’t a factor in keeping the defenseman in the lineup.

“He’s filled his role well the last few games,” Hakstol said. “He’s been good in that role with Ghost. So, he’s staying in for that reason.”

Goaltender Steve Mason will start for the 11th time in 12 games. He has a 2.25 goals-against average and .923 save percentage in his last 10 games.

Lineup
F: Read-Giroux-Voracek
Weal-Filppula-Simmons
Schenn-Couturier-Weise
Konecny-Bellemare-VandeVelde

D: Provorov-MacDonald
Schultz-Gostisbehere
Manning-Gudas

G: Mason